Saving his announcement until the right moment, the Rugby World now knows that it is a new four year deal for Beauden Barrett with New Zealand Rugby but, this time in Blues Super Rugby colours.
Switching his allegiance from the Hurricanes, to shift north to the Auckland-based Blues. It was a fainted move, but with its confirmation from the International Player of the Year himself in a press conference in Auckland, the news has taken center stage during the last day of All Blacks training.
With the cameras focused squarely on Beauden Barrett, the news has spread quickly around the globe. It has been most welcomed by fans of the Blues franchise. The reaction positive in the Queen City yet, less so in the capital city of Wellington. But the move has been one based on several motivating factors for the player.
In an NZ Rugby media release, Barrett said “this is obviously a massive decision for me and my wife Hannah and we’re really looking forward to the next chapter of our lives.
“The Hurricanes will always be a huge part of who I am. The Hurricanes environment and style of rugby they play has helped me become the player I am today, and I’ll be leaving some very good mates.”
Four more years for Beauden Barrett, now in Blues colours
Firstly, deciding to stay with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) means a lot to the game in New Zealand. Securing the signatures of men like Beauden Barrett, compliments others like Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick. And with many of the same favourable conditions as Whitelock, it means Barrett will continue to wear All Black.
As part of his new contract, he will take an extended break away from the game at the end of 2019 and start with the Blues midway through next year’s Super season. He also has an option to take a short playing break in Japan sometime over the next four years, with any break to be negotiated with NZR and the Blues.
— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) July 12, 2019
Being able to hold on to one of the most valuable commodities in the sport; similar to a Christian Ronaldo or a Lewis Hamilton, will have been considerable. All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen added, “It’s fantastic news for the All Blacks and obviously for the Blues as well.
“He’s one of the best players in the world, a leader in our team and has been involved in numerous successful campaigns, from Rugby World Cups to Bledisloe Cups, and I believe he’s going to get even better.
“Knowing he will be here through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup is massive for the All Blacks.”
Massive for the Blues, who have often been on the end of game-changing displays from Barrett (see below image). The side lacks a high-performing first five and the addition of Barrett – from 2021 – will bring all his abilities on the field, and behind the scenes.
All Blacks senior leadership boosted by Barrett’s signature
Beauden Barrett is established as a part of the All Blacks senior leadership group. Progressing from a sub-player, he is the first-pick starting number 10 – even considering his challenge from Richie Mo’unga. That significance is not lost on NZR chief executive, Steve Tew.
“There is no doubting how important he is to the All Blacks and every team he plays for. As well as his on-field achievements, including back-to-back World Rugby Player of the Year awards in 2016-2017, he has also amassed numerous records, including being fourth on the All Blacks Test points-scoring list. He is now a genuine leader in any team he plays and a strong contributor to our off-field responsibilities.
Barrett’s move to the Blues is arguably the most significant recent signing in Super Rugby. It has been suggested previously, but with changes to the personal and family situation for Barrett, his move to Auckland will reward him personally – and reward the Auckland Blues.
“Wellington has been my rugby base for many years and university base for Hannah and we’ll always have fond memories of living there. Home for us now is Taranaki and Auckland and home and family are immensely important to both of us,” is how Barrett feels about his shift post the 2019 RWC.
Once the time passes, and Beauden Barrett begins his time proper with the Blues  it will be a new dawn. not that his presence alone will bring the Blues a fourth Super Rugby title. But……having him within the franchise, makes it that much easier.
Beauden Barrett and the 2019 All Blacks Rugby Championship squad depart for Argentina on Saturday, with their first game the following weekend. Stages on the path towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Argentina v All Blacks – Saturday July 20, Buenos Aires
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images