New challenge for Jordie Barrett

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In a Rugby World Cup tournament that has already demonstrated the high-level capabilities of the All Blacks' Barrett brothers, another facet will be unleashed against Namibia on Sunday when Jordie Barrett plays first five-eighths.

 

His selection has allowed first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga and fullback Beauden Barrett to get a break before the game with Italy next week. Halfback TJ Perenara will be cover for the first five-eighths role.

 

While Barrett had played in the position in lower levels of rugby it will be his first exposure at Test level.

 

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said: "Jordie can play multiple positions in the backline and we're confident that he'll handle the responsibility well. He has all the skill sets required and we're looking forward to seeing him play there.

 

"We believe he has the confidence to do it. He has played there before at lower levels, he'll be fine.

 

"He's been working on his patience and execution and coming into 10 [first five-eighths] will further enhance that.

"He's got plenty of swagger, anyone who has seen him knows that. He'll boss the game. But swagger and confidence shouldn't be confused with arrogance," he said.

 

"Hopefully we don't see him at 10 too many times. He's a back-three player. As he gets older he may end up in midfield. He has a big boot, he's good under the high ball. He's brave with chase and catch, good handling skills," Hansen said.

 

Barrett said, "I guess there will have to be a few adjustments that I will have to make."

 

Barrett said he was ready for the challenge.

 

"Within our structure the No.15 [fullback] often performs the 10 role within our phase play, so it is more just set-piece, and little things, and timings that I will have to equip myself [with] over the next 48 hours," he said.

 

Halfbacks for the game Aaron Smith and Brad Weber have been given the message by Hansen that Barrett is the boss on the field.

 

"They need to listen to him, not the other way round. Number 10 is always your main computer. When nine starts making the choice you end up getting chaos," he said.

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