Beauden Barrett is careful of the Irish threat


It is an experience that Ireland prefers to bury under mountains for days and weeks that have been built since then, but Beauden Barrett was more than happy to dig deep into the memory dome yesterday when talks turned to his All Black debut.

Just stepping on 21, the semi-finished Kiwi was an early substitute for injured Aaron Cruden for the third summer test at Hamilton. Surprised by Ireland in Christchurch the previous week, when they needed Dan Carter's goal to win, New Zealand had gone to make amends.

Leading 24-0 when the white-haired and short-haired Barrett got a nod, the hosts would add 36 more points to their catch before the tourists were released from their misery. Beginners 10 will claim nine of them and one hand in more.

It is the most refined rug to the high level of Rugby Test.

"That was the highlight of my career," he recalled.

"The first opportunity to wear a black jersey, came from the bench with a feeling like Superman, making tackles that I had never made before. I couldn't overcome that moment … it gave me tremendous strength and energy. "

The score may be exaggerated but it is more or less the relationship between the two sides for more than a hundred years. Ireland will rage against their submissiveness now and again but, for the most part, everyone knows their place in the order of things.

Many Kiwis must have felt the superhero after the two sides met but there was a shake of the head from Barrett as he looked back, observing that it had been a long and bald statement that many things had changed. since.

"Ronan O’Gara was playing at the time: a man I admired in my youth. Tim (Ireland) has changed a lot but so has the game. It's been six years. Yes, we have seen great developments from the Irish game. I think that's behind some pretty good coaches too. "

Barrett was one of them All Black on the wrong side of history four years after his first appearance when Ireland claimed the first victory in Chicago and there was no doubt but that the balance of power had shifted far from its axis between the two countries since he hit the scene.

This week's tourists still hold this center, of course, but it's impossible not to detect an increase in respect for Ireland among Kiwi coaches and players who have offered far more than usual expectations of Ireland's passion and anger this time. The days of checking Brian O & # 39; Driscoll are gone.

Barrett did not claim to know much about head coach Joe Schmidt but he highly praised defense coach Andy Farrell and scrum coach Greg Feek, who he knew personally, and the dominant and structured Irish team that brought more refined skills to the table.

All of this might have been just a panto before the actual show began, but high respect for Ireland was as clear as in the travel press corps that had asked a lot about opposition than had ever happened on the previous winter visit.

This admiration is, of course, a two-way street.

Ireland may not tremble when they see the world champions again but they remain a barometer for everything Schmidt & Co wants to do and to be: Jonathan Sexton never exchanged shirts but he did switcheroo with Barrett in Soldier Field so all of this was mutual respect .

"Johnny, he's not afraid to pull the trigger," Barrett said.

"He can do some pretty good games. He likes to give a ball room. So I think we are similar in that space, whether it's a big cross-field or pass. Yes, he only has great skills. "

Skills will be very good this Saturday but strength and strength will tend to bring disproportionate value in the Test rugby: a fact highlighted two weeks after the Chicago match when New Zealand avenged the defeat in a brutal contest at Aviva.

Memories of tackles by Sam Cane and Malakai Fekitoa, on Robbie Henshaw and Simon Zebo respectively, will be a little raw for a few weeks like a hammer like in Hamilton. Even if Barrett makes light of the controversy here.

"I remember Ireland also being aggressive," he joked.

They expect that and more this Saturday.


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