Super Rugby Pacific: Hurricanes and All Blacks disagree over Jordie Barrett’s best position

David Skippers

Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes in action during the Round 4 Trans-Tasman Super Rugby match between the ACT Brumbies and the Wellington Hurricanes at GIO Stadium in Canberra, Saturday, June 5, 2021. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY ** STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE, NO BOOKS **

Although All Blacks coach Ian Foster would like to see Jordie Barrett playing at full-back, the Hurricanes view him as a centre and are set to continue with him that position in Super Rugby Pacific.

Despite shining in the number 15 jersey during the All Blacks’ international campaign in 2021, Barrett caused some debate earlier this year when he revealed that inside centre was “the most comfortable position” for him.

All Blacks not keen on playing him at 12

However, Foster is not too keen on playing the 25-year-old in that role at the moment and said Barrett was a “long-term option” in the position.

“We’ve watched with interest him playing 12. It hasn’t excited me that he’s gone into there,” explained Foster. “He’s played 12 before and he quite enjoys it. If it stimulates him that’s great, and I’m interested to see whether it’s an option for us long-term, because it might become one.”

But the Hurricanes are confident Barrett is better suited to playing in midfield and he has played at inside centre in most of the Wellington-based outfit’s matches this year. He will be back in action in the number 12 jersey when his team take on the Brumbies in their Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final in Canberra on Saturday.

“Obviously we see the best thing around Jordie’s skill set for this team around playing at 12,” Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland told Stuff.

“I’m pretty excited around what he offers as a midfielder.”

Holland said he understood why Foster prefers to play Barrett at full-back.

“He’s a quality footballer wherever we play him. Whatever each team needs is where teams will go with it. For our team, Jordie at 12, for me is a massive part of this playoff run and how we can win games.”

Barrett missed the Hurricanes’ 27-22 defeat to the Western Force in Perth due to illness but he has been recalled to their starting line-up as one of five changes from that defeat. He’s a big unit and will be expected to keep the Brumbies’ midfield duo of Len Ikitau and Irae Simone in check with strong physicality.

Holland also said the Brumbies have “a lot of loosies floating around in those channels, as well to carry”.

“Jordie loves to come forward and make tackles, but he’s also good on the carry and getting us gainline.”

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The First-ever Super Rugby Pacific quarter-finals.

Planet Rugby previews the first-ever Super Rugby Pacific quarter-finals.