Beauden Barrett says Kurtley Beale will be able to take exiled Wallabies star Israel Folau’s spot at fullback ahead of the Bledisloe Cup Test on Saturday.
The All Blacks will be facing the Wallabies in Perth for the first time since Folau was sacked for his homophobic comments on social media.
Folau dominated the No 15 jersey since making his Test debut in 2013, making a total of 62 Test appearances, but his sacking has opened a place in the starting lineup.
Beale, meanwhile, has been tried in various positions in the Wallabies backline, starting at both centre and fullback under Michael Cheika.
Speaking to the media in Perth, All Blacks flyhalf Barrett said that while Folau was important to the Wallabies, he is convinced Beale could offer a different threat at fullback.
‘We’re all aware of Israel Folau’s capabilities and the strength he has from a physical point of view,’ Barrett told the New Zealand Herald.
‘ [However] Kurtley’s a very exciting player and he’s so unpredictable I think they certainly don’t lose anything by having him there, if anything it’s probably more threatening.’
The All Blacks are currently second in the Rugby Championship and trail the Springboks by one point.
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