Barrett, Laumape backed for All Blacks

Date published: March 21 2017

Hurricanes assistant coach Richard Watt believes that full-back Jordie Barrett could earn a New Zealand call-up, if he gets a bit of luck.

Barrett has been in excellent form in the opening weeks of the season with his versatility certainly one positive he has working for him.

And Watt is confident in the young player’s ability to step up if a call came to don the black jersey, adding that he’s “right in the frame”.

“Sometimes you’ve got to be lucky, if there’s injuries in that position, if Nehe [Milner-Skudder] is down and Izzy [Israel Dagg] is still out and something happened to Bender [Ben Smith] again then he’s right in the frame, for sure,” he told the Dominion Post in an interview.

“The good thing about Jordie is his versatility and he can probably play anywhere in that backline apart from nine which is pretty valuable to have. They took him on the tour last year and they’re pretty happy with him. The good thing about it now is he gets some time to play and show his wares with Nehe out. He’d definitely be in the frame.”

Watt also thinks centre Ngani Laumape is banging on the All Black door and will have been heard after consistently excellent showings.

“I’m sure Jordie will go close and Ngani, last year he was injured quite a lot and it was his first year back in rugby and he was finding his way,” he added.

“Now he’s really settled in and is understanding his position and doing a lot of work with [assistant coach] Jason Holland and he’s playing hard. He’s a handful, eh?

“From a New Zealand point of view we’re lucky he didn’t put Bender on the sideline for another six weeks. When he gets those little legs pumping, good luck. It’s a bit like Ma’a [Nonu], a power runner in that channel.”