Last Word on Rugby, by Mike Pulman.
Impressive Crusaders fullback David Havili might just find himself having the opportunity to represent the All Blacks sooner than he could ever have imagined.
The season is over for Jordie Barrett, all bar the medical confirmation. During the Hurricanes semifinal loss to the Lions; Barrett injured his shoulder and has most likely torn some crucial ligaments.
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster broke the news at a media conference this afternoon.
Jordie Barrett’s Biggest Supporter Confirms Injury
Fronting the media would’ve been a difficult task for Foster, not because he isn’t a fan of it, but more so because of his admiration for Barrett.
Multiple sources have informed Last Word On Rugby that it was Foster who played a big part in advocating for the 20 year-old’s inclusion into the All Blacks in the first place. Foster had to convince Hansen and others before Barrett had even laced up the boots for the Hurricanes in his debut Super Rugby season.
After his outstanding form during the Under 20 World Championship was backed up by a term with Canterbury, in the Mitre 10 Cup, Barrett was firmly in the selection conversation even then.
The 20-year old stepped into the fullback role well in the third Test against the British and Irish Lions last month too. From the heights of international rugby, to performing right through the Super Rugby season, he looked to be a sure choice for The Rugby Championship.
However, injuries cannot be foreseen, and luck hasn’t gone Barrett’s way.
David Havili Faces Tough Competition With Damian McKenzie
Just where all this leaves Damian McKenzie remains unknown. The advantage for Havili is that he is a potential midfield option, but McKenzie himself has also been named as a replacement utility back.
First choice fullback Ben Smith will depart for on sabbatical following the first two Bledisloe Cup tests, but there is every chance Israel Dagg will be the preferred number 15 after that.
McKenzie, like his new All Black teammate Havili, could be looked upon to give impact off the bench. Some famous names in All Black history started their journey to superstardom by playing key roles late in games, so the prospect will be enticing, but you’d also imagine that each would be overjoyed just to get time in the black jersey.
Both men have also been standout performers in Super Rugby in both 2016 and 2017, but it was Havili who managed to secure a title with the champion Crusaders last weekend.
It might be unfortunate for Barrett; but it certainly makes for some added intrigue in the weeks to come.
“Main photo credit”