Beauden Barrett has described his first outing for the Blues against his former team, the Hurricanes, as an emotional hurdle.
The 29-year-old spent nine seasons at the Hurricanes before switching allegiance to the Auckland-based Blues at the beginning of this year. But Covid-19 halted the season before he could make his debut for the Blues in the normal, regular Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.
And as it turned out, Barrett’s Blues debut came with him starting at fullback against the Canes in New Zealand’s new domestic competition Super Rugby Aotearoa.
‘It [his debut] sure was highly anticipated, it’s been a long time coming. I was quite surprised [to play No 15], at fullback you’re a little bit further away which was probably a good thing,’ he said.
‘I said earlier in the week I’ve played this game a million times in my head. It’s good to get it done way. Obviously there was that emotional hurdle to get over, playing all my mates and starting a new chapter in my career as well. So I’m very proud of the start and the effort from our boys tonight,’ he added.
Barrett was subjected to a Hurricanes special though, when Dane Coles burst through his attempted tackle to score and then caught him up in the opposition’s celebrations. Reflecting on the moment, Barrett says it felt like destiny that he had to be there in the thick of things at that precise moment.
‘That just happened in slow motion, it was almost like it was meant to be. Fair play to him [Coles]. He’s pretty good in the wide channel and in space a guy like him should be able to finish against someone like me,’ Barrett joked.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) June 14, 2020
Commenting on the game which the Blues won 30-20, Barrett explained: ‘I have to take my hat off to the big boys. We put it on them to front up tonight. When they do that it makes life so much easier to dictate, to play territory and trust in what we were doing. I thought our defence was really strong. I’ve got a lot of faith that we can fill the field and a lot of our guys are good over the ball and can get those turnovers.
‘But it’s just a start for us. We’re aware there are plenty of games to come and a tough one around the corner against the Chiefs [on Saturday]. So we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground. There’s plenty of work to be done, but it’s a great start for us.’
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 14, 2020
Photo: Getty Images