After finishing last year as the All Blacks’ first-choice second-five, Jordie Barrett feels a full season in his preferred position will only benefit him going forward.
Barrett, 25, will be used primarily in the midfield for the Hurricanes this year, something he hopes can propel his game to new heights with a World Cup looming.
He’s quickly finding his groove in his first few trainings back with his Super Rugby franchise, but unlike each of the six seasons he’s spent in the capital, this one will begin in the centres rather than fullback, as his positional switch takes full effect.
“It’s great for continuity,” he told Newshub. “I had plenty of games at 12 last year and putting most of my eggs in one basket this year, trying to hone my skills and grow my game at second five, is great.”
Last year offered the first glimpse of just how dominant Barrett can be in the midfield at test level. Handed an opportunity there against the Wallabies, Barrett proved he belonged there.
“I can build off what I did last year, but I’m not going to settle there,” he said. “I’ve got to keep growing my game and evolving, as everyone else will be also.”
That’s likely to start next weekend for the Hurricanes, when they kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Reds.
Hurricanes coach Jason Holland initiated Barrett’s transition back to second-five last year and has had little hesitation in following that path again.
“It suits the way we play,” said Holland. “He’s got a really rounded skillset for a 12, and he has the ability to be really tough and strong.”
With a World Cup just eight months away, Barrett understands the importance of flexibility and he’s happy to slot in wherever’s best for the team.
“In hindsight, it’s been the best thing for my career, learning how to influence games in various positions,” he said.
But second-five is where Jordie Barrett hopes to have the most influence this year.
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