Beauden Barrett sends warning to Damian McKenzie over All Blacks role

Colin Newboult
Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie during the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie during the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Damian McKenzie better watch out, Beauden Barrett is desperate for that All Blacks fly-half jersey in 2024.

The 32-year-old is currently plying his trade in Japan but will return to New Zealand after the season has finished ready for the July Test series.

Following the Rugby World Cup, there will be an inevitable overhaul with several experienced players departing, while there is a new head coach in the form of Scott Robertson.


However, the presence of Barrett will be at least one constant in the set-up after signing a deal which will take him to the end of 2027.

He has shown his commitment to New Zealand Rugby and Robertson by agreeing to remain until the conclusion of the next World Cup.

In return, the experienced playmaker is hoping to get the nod in the key number 10 role, ahead of McKenzie, who has also expressed a firm desire to feature there.

Over the past two years, Barrett has primarily played at full-back, with Richie Mo’unga the preferred pivot before and during the 2023 global tournament.

The former Hurricanes man is therefore looking to return to that slot and be selected over McKenzie when England visit later this year.

“This time every year I say I want to play 10,” Barrett told The Platform. “That’s what the coaches also agree on and you get to the time when it comes to selection and somehow I slip back to 15, and I accept that.

“I want to be playing for the All Blacks, I want to be playing first five-eighth.”

Although Barrett wants that 10 shirt, he would also understand should Robertson hand it to someone else.

As a result, he could well remain at full-back or may even be relegated to the bench, but that would be fine with the playmaker providing he is contributing to the team.

“If it means I’m playing first five-eighth, full-back, coming off the bench, starting, I just want to be contributing to the All Blacks,” he said.

“Of course I want to be starting but we’ve seen in Test matches the last 20 minutes are the most critical part. Some teams like South Africa pride themselves on finishing games.

“I’m not saying I want to come off the bench but I know how influential a full squad is and the importance of the 23.”


Barrett is currently out of action having picked up an injury while playing in Japan, but it is only a short-term issue and he hopes to be playing again by March.

“The focus is this season. Obviously, I’m feeling good physically. I’m optimistic, I’m training and playing as best as I can,” he added.

“I’m on contact with Scotty Hansen and DMac (McKenzie) just around some game stuff, sharing thoughts and so on.

“It’s an exciting year, there’s potentially a lot of rugby to be played and for me right now, it’s just about getting my body right.

“I know that if my body is right, I’m driven to be there, I just need to focus on playing well.”

READ MORE: Former All Black set to join Springboks’ coaching staff – report