VIDEO: Barrett blitz seals Suntory rout
WATCH as All Black recruit Beauden Barrett continued his rich vein of Top League form for Sungoliath, this time injecting into the game off the bench with a three-try cameo that has everyone on notice.
After moving from the Hurricanes to the Blues last year, Barrett did not find top gear very often as the Blues opted for a kick-heavy game with little broken play initiative.
As a result, Barrett’s running game was fairly limited with a low number of line breaks and classic tries that fans had become used to from the back-to-back World Player of the Year. A rare highlight came in his return to Wellington against his old franchise with a burst up the middle to score his first Blues try from roughly 20-metres out.
Pushed to fullback for the All Blacks until a lone appearance at 10 in the Brisbane test which resulted in a loss against the Wallabies, Barrett’s 2020 season didn’t reach the heights of some of his earlier work.
Now after two match-winning moments in back-to-back weeks, Barrett came off the bench for Suntory and put the world on notice his electric running game is back with a blistering 60-metre solo effort against the Arcs.
Japanese scrumhalf Yukata Nagare opened up a yawning gap for Barrett to punch through, and the All Black put the jets on to steam past three would-be defenders into the backfield.
Facing the fullback, Barrett rounded the poor soul with pure speed and put on the afterburners to outrun the cover defence. Two futile diving efforts could only nip at Barrett’s ankles as they tried to bring him down with ankle taps, but the 29-year-old skipped away gracefully.
The scorching run was reminiscent of one of Barrett’s four tries at Eden Park against the Wallabies in 2018, when he shot out of a cannon up the middle of the defence for a long-range try.
A short while later, Barrett did it again this time from a closer range, spotting a half-gap and shooting up the guts to dot down under the posts in a flash.
That wouldn’t be the last try, as an injury-time score completed the hat-trick for the All Black star. Suntory ended up with a 94-31 win over the Shining Arcs and Barrett finished with three tries in just 18 minutes.
The explosive performance of the bench could bolster the argument that Barrett is best used for the All Blacks as an impact weapon from the bench to be used in late game situations, but it seems that Barrett has found his mojo in Japan including getting his lethal speed back.
Speaking on Martin Devlin’s radio show the DRS, former Crusaders coach and current Wild Knights coach Robbie Deans said that both Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick would have no problems moving from the Top League back into Test rugby with the All Blacks.
“Of course they can,” he told the DRS.
“And you’ve seen it in the last two years. You saw it with Matt Todd, he was chosen for the All Blacks from Panasonic, you saw it with Sam Whitelock when he came back for that campaign [The Rugby Championship] last year.
“He was pre-maturely included due to Covid last year. He went back and played the house down in Super Rugby last year and won another title.
“Yes, is the answer.”
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster will be happy to see his stars emphatically dominating the Top League with their availability later in the year possible.