Beauden Barrett underlines his desire to return to the All Blacks

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Nearing the end of his stint in Japan with Suntory, Barrett told world media in a Zoom hook-up that he was confident that once he had returned to New Zealand and was through the quarantine process, he could be ready for Test rugby in the All Blacks' 2021 campaign.

 

The All Blacks are currently scheduled to play Italy and Fiji mid-year, but the schedule is yet to be fully confirmed.  They then play the Rugby Championship, and tour in the Northern Hemisphere later in the year.

 

"I'm sure that if I'm selected in this squad coming up, then through training in an All Black environment, I can get myself up to that Test match intensity," he said.

 

Barrett said fitness would not be an issue as there had been plenty of running around in the rugby he had played in Japan.

 

Barrett is playing in the number 10 jersey for Suntory, and he believed he could still be better in the position that saw him twice named World Rugby's Player of the Year.

Japan had only heightened his desire to play in his preferred position, and he believed he was a player who could still give more to the job. Part of that resulted from some observations made to him by England coach Eddie Jones, an advisor to the Suntory team.

 

"He's a wealth of knowledge, he's been around, he understands rugby," he said.

 

The tips passed on would remain with Barrett.

 

"This is what is hopefully going to make me a better player so I'm going to keep it to myself, but he does offer some good value," he said.

 

Barrett started at fullback during the All Blacks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign as part of a dual playmaker system with Richie Mo’unga and said that Damian McKenzie, Will Jordan and his brother Jordie Barrett were all performing well for their Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa teams in that position.

 

Meanwhile, lock Brodie Retallick said he had always known that returning from Japan to the physicality of forward play in New Zealand would be a challenge.

 

"Physicality is a mindset rather than a physical strength or ability. I guess if the mind is hungry then it shouldn't be a problem. It might take a wee while for the body to adjust, but hopefully I can adjust quickly," he said.

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