Skill, shrewdness and a deadly killer instinct; these three qualities serve as an apt encapsulation of the type of All Black Beauden Barrett has become.
Prior to Dan Carter’s impending international retirement following the 2015 World Cup, Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett was but just another in a long line of highly rated prospects coming through the domineering All Blacks conveyor belt of world class talent.
In the wake of Carter’s proverbiel hanging of his black boots, it seemed that Barrett was set for a long and testing battle with Aaron Cruden to hold down the fabled number ten shirt with Lima Sopoaga lurking on the fringes.
However, all it took was one prematurely cautioned hit to the neck of Aaron Cruden during the June internationals with Wales and in steps Barrett.
What we have witnessed from the Taranake native thus far in the Rugby Championship, where he has started both games, has been consistent with his Super Rugby form, that of sheer and utter class.
It seems that Barrett has every facet of his game down to a harmonious and scintillating tee, from superb game management to devastating personal capability, the threat that the man serves as to opposing defences is truly terrifying as his pin point passing and kicking allows him to fully incorporate the deadly back lines which he has access to at both club and international level, while if needs, be he can back himself with deceptively blistering speed and a harsh turn of pace to leave even the most seasoned defenders hot on his heels, but to no avail.
Such qualities were no more evident then during Hurricanes Super Rugby playoff run where Barrett was clinical and deadly in leading his side to victories over the Sharks, Chiefs and Lions, having topped the New Zealand conference of death.
Such has been the quality of Barrett this season, it appears that there is not a single chink in his current game and with the Hurricane at the head of the All Blacks ‘transitional’ period, it seems the the world champions are set to push on from their already dizzying heights.
In the debate of who currently resides as the best player in the game right now, while this will always be a subjective matter due to the nature of rugby and its widely varying areas, aspects and positions; it is difficult to argue against Barrett given the responsibility he bears at the most pressurised position in the sport, but also for the influence and impact he holds on a game.
As the Hurricanes and New Zealand continue to reap unprecedented success, opposing teams have failed to figure out and contain the talent that is Beauden Barrett.
However, this is exactly what Warren Gatland has ten months to do, for as the rugby elite of Ireland and Britain descend upon the north and south islands of New Zealand readying themselves for battle, you can be sure to expect that the mighty All Blacks will be at the top of their game; with Barrett ready to dictate proceedings.
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