Beauden Barrett: All Blacks playmaker expects another free-flowing game against Wallabies

David Skippers
Beauden Barrett

Beauden Barrett is preparing himself for more high-tension and free-flowing rugby when the All Blacks and Wallabies meet in Saturday’s Rugby Championship encounter at Eden Park.

Both teams are renowned for playing that way and after the first Bledisloe Cup Test went down to the wire in Melbourne last Thursday, Barrett is bracing himself for another thrilling encounter against their trans-Tasman rivals.

Although rain is predicted for Auckland on Saturday, Barrett does not expect the All Blacks‘ work at the breakdown and the things they do to attack space to change, regardless of the weather conditions.

“That’s always the focus for us. We’ll come up with a plan, make some adjustments on what we did on Thursday night and get excited about training those this week,” he said.

The experienced utility back said he hoped more effort would be made to reduce cynical efforts to slow the game’s pace following the recent time-wasting controversy in Melbourne.

According to Barrett, all kickers pushed the boundaries to shave time and protect a lead, but when the referee told you to get on with playing, you listen. Stoppages were one way of reducing the game from flowing freely. That tactic often worked against the All Blacks’ efforts to play a fast-pace game.

“Fitter players should be rewarded by less stoppages and keeping the ball in play,” said Barrett. “It’s a better product of rugby. That suits me, and suits New Zealand rugby, so, hopefully, we’re trending in the right direction.”

Room for improvement

But the All Blacks know that they did not achieve what they wanted in Melbourne, and their review had highlighted that. The 31-year-old acknowledged that the Wallabies always came back, no matter the deficit and that was seen again in Melbourne.

“It’s an opportunity for us to look at ourselves in the mirror and our preparation after getting too complacent after getting a lead like we had,” said Barrett.

“There are a few boys that are a bit scratchy at the moment, which is great. That’s where you want to be on a Monday, not feeling comfortable at all, and plenty of edge in camp.

“There’s a lot to work on. We clearly didn’t put an 80-minute performance together on Thursday night, and that’s the challenge this week.

“It’s reassuring that when we do what we train, we can perform well, but we can’t allow ourselves to have mental lapses that gift them easy tries and the ability to make it a contest right down the stretch.

“We shot ourselves in the foot, we gave up a comprehensive lead, a lot of it was individual errors or mental lapses.”

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