Barrett aware of Lions threat

Date published: April 15 2017

New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett believes the All Blacks under Steve Hansen are a more adaptable team ahead of the British and Irish Lions series.

Barrett, the 2016 World Rugby Player of the Year, is under no illusions as to the physical and tactical battle they will face from the Northern Hemisphere boys.

That 40-29 defeat to Ireland in November last year is still at the forefront of the 25-year-old’s mind and he believes the Lions will play in a similar fashion to that Kiwi Joe Schmidt employed with the Irishmen.

“I remember them (the Lions) being over in 2005 and, having experienced northern hemisphere rugby of late, it’s going to be huge,” Barrett told Sky Sports.

“We’ve learned a lot about our game, so perhaps we’ll adapt better when they arrive.

“It’s certainly different to Super Rugby and the general way we play down south. It’s very forward and set piece-orientated. It’s often a defensive, tactical game.

“I wouldn’t say it’s hugely free-flowing. It’s real Test match footy. It’s applying pressure.

“It’s hard to explain, actually, but it’s how you’ve seen Ireland play, in particular.”

Barrett also has no qualms with playing rugby that doesn’t necessarily catch the eye and is prepared to play a kicking game if he has to.

“For me, it’s about getting the balance right,” he said.

“If it’s on to kick 10 times out of 10, you keep doing it.

“You don’t stop to think, ‘We’re doing this too much’.

“You hammer it home. You’ve got to get the ball into space, and there are many different ways of doing that.

“The great thing about this team is that we’re not conservative.

“We’re encouraged to put ourselves under pressure and deliver plays. It’s great.”

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