All Blacks great Jeff Wilson insists that they need more from full-back Jordie Barrett following their disappointing Ireland series.
The 25-year-old cemented his place in the first team last year with a number of superb displays at 15, but he didn’t produce his best against Andy Farrell’s men.
Out on his feet
“Beauden Barrett’s shift on the weekend, the amount of territory he covered, to try and impose himself on the game, the responsibility put on his shoulders was far too much,” he said on The Breakdown.
“He was out on his feet. He played himself into the ground and people say ‘he didn’t have a big impact on the game’, it was because of everything else he was trying to do.
“I think we need one more decision-maker in a key position, and for me it’s Jordie, I need you to step up at full-back and take over some of that playmaking ability.
“He can run hard, and run straight, his positioning in defence is strong. If you are at full-back, I need you to create.
“One guy who comes into the conversation when he becomes eligible going forward, is Damian McKenzie once he starts playing for Waikato.”
New Zealand centurion Mils Muliaina also believes that Damian McKenzie could be the answer, despite Barrett previously winning the duel when both players were vying for the 15 shirt.
Finding the right balance
“The thing with D-Mac is he’s been there before and done it before,” Muliaina said.
“He’s that type of player that can react to that kind of stuff. I think you are right, Jordie does need to balance his game up.
“When you look at also, that midfield has been really disruptive. It’s not anyone’s fault because they’ve had injuries – Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue – so finding the right balance has been really messy.
“For a guy like Jordie, perhaps playing at second five (at the Hurricanes) has put him in that mentality of just running hard and taking contact.”