James Mortimer 16.Sep.2013Getty Images
Barrett came on in the 16th minute to replace Dan Carter, and in what was among his toughest match in his rugby career, playing more Test minutes than he ever had before, he shined.
Playing in his 11th Test, with 10 of those caps coming off the bench, Barrett had a few early moments with his boot, before a brilliant break cut the Springboks defensive screen open, which allowed Brodie Retallick to score the try that put match winning distance between the two heavyweight rugby nations.
Even though he had little warning he was about to enter the fray, a beaming Barrett said that it was one of his more exciting games.
“I haven’t come off the bench after 16 minutes to start with,” the Hurricanes playmaker said.
“Haven’t played in a game that physical either, but it was good to see the big boys do the damage up front.”
Barrett is one of a long list of players introduced to the All Blacks camp in a carefully planned scheme by the selectors to ensure the core of the side continues to regenerate.
He was a bit critical of his performance, but said the time spent learning in recent years had held him in good stead.
“I was reasonably happy, but still have a bit of work to do, especially with goal kicking,” he said.
“It has been awesome, learning of DC (Carter) and Cruds (Cruden).
“That is the great thing about this team, the experience and how they bring in young guys. Eventually their time will be up, and that is the chance for the young ones to step up.”
While he said he enjoyed “learning from the guns”, he said all of that learning didn’t mean much as he had his first taste of the Springboks power, even if he liked the fact his forward pack returned the favour.
“I suppose after a big carry you get a big hit and it rattles your spine and then you are in the game,” he said.
“It was just amazing seeing them (the All Blacks forwards) bully the bullies, you could really feel it out in the backs as they double teamed.”