Beauden Barrett’s ‘pretty clear’ message to All Blacks selectors in next Rugby World Cup cycle

Colin Newboult
Beauden Barrett for the All Blacks at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Beauden Barrett for the All Blacks at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Playmaker Beauden Barrett says that he is using his time in Japan to “mentally refresh” ahead of his assault on the All Blacks jersey in 2024.

The fly-half, who played at full-back during the Rugby World Cup, has signed a short-term deal with Toyota Verblitz for the 2023/24 campaign, but will be available for next year’s Test season.

That was after he agreed a new contract with New Zealand Rugby that will take him to the end of the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

Unfinished business

Barrett perhaps feels there is unfinished business with the All Blacks after they succumbed to the Springboks in the 2023 final.

The talented pivot is now 32 but he is not done just yet and will be doing his utmost to make sure that he remains in international contention up until the conclusion of the next World Cup.

“There’s still a strong desire to play for the All Blacks, I’ve made that pretty clear, so that’s why I’m super grateful to be here and to mentally refresh,” he told reporters.

“I do find that it’s a great experience here, you learn so much as a player and I can take that back to New Zealand also.”

For now, Barrett’s concentration will be with his new club, who begin their Japan Rugby League One season this weekend.

The playmaker is among several All Blacks to move to Asia after the World Cup, with the likes of Ardie Savea, Richie Mo’unga, Sam Cane and Shannon Frizell also featuring in the competition this season.

“Japanese rugby is in a great place and I think that’s why you see so many international rugby players choosing to come up and play here now,” the 32-year-old added.

Partnered by All Blacks team-mate

Aaron Smith has also agreed a move to Japan and will team up with his All Blacks colleague Barrett at Toyota.

They will line up together in the opening match of the campaign on Saturday, with South Africa’s Pieter-Steph du Toit completing an exciting 8-9-10 combination.

“I’ve been really impressed with the skill level and the physicality,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to experiencing that in a real game.”

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