‘He does what he’s told’: Hurricanes coy on Jordie Barrett’s No. 12 future
Jordie Barrett would seem certain to line up again in the Hurricanes’ No.12 jersey next weekend, but following their 30-29 loss to the Chiefs, coach Jason Holland didn’t take a cue. commitment to the future of his All Blacks star in midfield.
All eyes were on Barrett in Sunday’s Super Rugby Pacific clash in the capital, as Holland opted for a fifth different midfield combo in as many games and returned Barrett to a previous, and even preferred, position , to the second five-eighth.
And the 25-year-old made a good fist of his leap forward from the back. Although he never found himself in a whole lot of space to work from, Barrett landed a team-high nine carries on the ball, going 33 yards and beating a defender, while his defense was solid, making a equal record of 15 tackles for just one miss, and ensuring his big frame was fully felt on contact.
“I love it, I feel like you’re in the game on both sides of the ball and I particularly enjoy the defensive aspect and bringing in a bit of line speed,” Barrett told Sky afterwards. when asked how the move got back to a position it held. for Canterbury and New Zealand Under-20s, and had not played since 2019 for the Hurricanes against the Stormers.
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Looking for better direction with their attack and to be able to win collisions on both sides of the ball, Holland was suitably impressed with Barrett’s display, noting that he had always viewed his move to No 12 as a option, and which the pair had discussed in the preseason.
But the coach made it clear that it was firmly his call to withdraw the position swap, as opposed to any pleading from Barrett, who, with the international season in mind, may well be wise to tilt at the midfield given the heat. Will Jordan of the Crusaders has been in No. 15.
“No, I asked him this week,” Holland told Sky. “I told him,” he then corrected himself, before opting not to cement the midfielder’s move in stone ahead of a clash against the Crusaders in the capital next Saturday night.
“Jordie won’t ask me, because he does what he’s told. But we’ll take a look at what happened and figure out what’s the best way forward.
Either way, the Hurricanes have more pressing issues to deal with, having failed to respond to their upset loss to Moana Pasifika in the previous round thanks to what Holland and captain Ardie Savea described as mental failure early in the game. second period.
Leading 15-13 at the break, the hosts conceded 17 unanswered points, and if they fought back late, they had already dug themselves the hole.
“Those 15 minutes after half time killed us,” Holland told Sky, lamenting his side’s intention. “Even if we had won it [game]that would have been a horrible 15 minutes to review.
“When you don’t show up on D[efence], and you let the teams come in behind you, you’re going to give penalties and tries. And that’s exactly what happened, and then we chase our tail.
“All the boys know our system, they know how to get off the line, they know how to get out and win collisions. But mentally, you need to make sure you’re on for 80 minutes.
For the Chiefs, who secured three straight wins over the Hurricanes for the first time in franchise history, they were also masters of their own destiny, after coach Clayton McMillan demanded an improvement in standards ahead of the second spell.
“We just felt like we were hanging in the game, really, we didn’t throw a lot of punches in that first half,” he told Sky.
“So we challenged our guys to bring a little more energy, a lot more precision, to build a higher number of phases in the right parts of the field, and we felt like we could break them. “
He himself also must have regretted a cut from his side, but will be heartened by the calm heads they showed to close it, as the Chiefs prepare for a second Bombays battle of the season when they host the Blues in Hamilton on Saturday night.