Super Rugby Pacific: Taking pressure off has helped Beauden Barrett find balance at the Blues

Dylan Coetzee

Beauden Barrett of the Auckland Blues celebrates with team mates after kicking a field goal to win the game during the Super Rugby Pacific Round 14 match between the ACT Brumbies and the Auckland Blues at GIO Stadium in Canberra, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (AAP Image/David Gray) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY ** STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE, NO BOOKS **

Blues playmaker Beauden Barrett says he has found a balance at the Blues, where he is simply focused on enjoying his rugby.

After a delayed start to his season through concussion and Covid-19, Barrett has hit his straps in a free-flowing Blues backline littered with attacking quality across all positions.

Taking the pressure

The All Blacks centurion puts his impressive season down to keeping things simple and not putting pressure on himself.

“I just want to enjoy my footy,” Barrett told Stuff. “I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to overachieve. We’ve got plenty of talent in this team, so I want to contribute where I can and just enjoy training and playing with these boys. We have the opportunity to do something special, and I’m extremely driven to do that with this group.”

Stability at home has also been a key factor in Barrett’s season.

“It’s feeling free in how I’m playing, and not getting bogged down on detail and systems,” he said. “The stability at home allows me to come to training and be free, put in the hard work, and then go home … being settled in Auckland with family around … the life balance is great.”

Having endured a difficult start to the campaign, the fly-half admits that just being on the field has made him cherish it a lot more.

“That’s another part of it,” he added. “Just appreciating every minute I get. It’s the closest I’ve been to potentially hanging up the boots. I do have a realisation it can be taken away pretty quick, and I’m just grateful for every opportunity I get with this team.”

Barrett also weighed in on his brother Jordie’s shift to inside centre. All Blacks boss Ian Foster is unsure as to whether it would work, but the 31-year-old believes that he has what it takes to be a success in midfield.

“He wants to be a 12,” the Blues pivot said. “He knows he’s taking a punt but it’s a position where he thinks he’s going to be in the long-term. I support his decision. It’s a ballsy one. I know how difficult it is in the backfield to defend midfielders who can kick … he’s certainly got the frame to be a Jean de Villiers-type midfielder.”

Barrett will start for the Blues against the Highlanders in their Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final clash and head coach Leon MacDonald is not paying attention to those who have dismissed the threat of this weekend’s opponents.

“The only people that are writing the Highlanders off are the media,” MacDonald said. “We’ve played them twice and they’ve been two hard games that they’ve been right in to the final plays. We’re under no illusions. They’ve got nothing to lose and they’re dangerous when they’re in that space.”

READ MORE: Super Rugby Pacific highlights: Crusaders pull away from Reds to reach semi-finals


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The first-ever Super Rugby Pacific quarter-finals

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