Legendary Irish flyhalf Ronan O’Gara was never afraid of making a big call during his playing career and he has made another from the sidelines: predicting Beauden Barrett could eventually surpass Dan Carter as the greatest flyhalf of all time.
For O’Gara to make a statement like this is even more eyebrow raising given the fact that he coached Carter for two and a half seasons at Racing 92, and has a strong friendship with the world record points scorer. Ex-Crusader Carter was also the middle man in O’Gara landing his current position as backs coach for the champion Crusaders side.
Speaking in Christchurch ahead of a huge game against Beauden Barrett’s Hurricanes side this weekend, O’Gara explained why he rates the two time World Rugby Player of the year Barrett so highly.
“He fills grounds. He excites people. Everything good about rugby is what Beauden Barrett does and he’s an exceptional talent.”
O’Gara believed Barrett’s x-factor ability has transformed the expectations about the position of flyhalf.
“He’s probably nearly redefined number 10 play. Dan was obviously and still is the best 10 in the world, overall for decades. But Beauden Barrett is very exciting and could potentially go on to challenge him for that title. So when you speak of him in that class, by God is he up there.”
Barrett has some work to do if he is to match Carter’s unmatched statistics. Carter scored 1598 points in 112 tests, including 19 points in the 2015 World Cup final.
In 62 tests, Barrett has scored 465 points at an average of 7.5 per game. However, 30 of those tests were as substitute. If Barrett manages to match Carter’s longevity in the game, he would have to score an average 22 points in his next 50 tests to match Carter’s statistics at the end of his career.
However, in terms of attacking running threat, Barrett probably wins in that respect given that he has scored an impressive 24 tries in 62 tests versus Carter’s 29 tries in 112 tests. Attacking brilliance or all-round consistency and class?
Who would you rather have commanding your backline?