Accomplishing three digits in sport is something to be celebrated. That means for Beauden Barrett 100 test caps makes him the 11th All Black to achieve that statistic, as the New Zealand Black Ferns women’s XV celebrate their 100th Test against the England Red Roses on Sunday.
Two distinct moments for an individual and for a national representative side. Reached in entirely different ways mind you, but equally important for the game. Important for the individuals, and for the higher place that the women’s game now holds. One to be heralded in the same fashion as one of World Rugby’s pin-up players, the similarities and differences in journeys show both the equity and disparity of the game.
Barrett has reached his milestone in his 10th season of International rugby. Debuting in 2012 as a sometimes ‘miraculous’ impact player, he is now seen as an influential playmaker, comfortable in the 10 jersey, as much as in the 15 or alternatively, off the bench. He has grown into the role of backline director, and this weekend he is playing his eighth Test against the Welsh over a stellar career.
Beauden Barrett 100 test caps – simply superb!
Superlatives are used often when speaking of this player. His impact from a super-sub from the bench before his first starting Test in 2014. Now he is often the first pick, alongside fellow centurions like captain Sam Whitelock and Aaron Smith. His pedigree was seen early, playing for his province at the age of 19 – representing his country in both the Under 20 side and national rugby sevens team. But it was in Super Rugby where his explosive speed and vision proceeded a storied career in the All Blacks.
Over the Beauden Barrett 100 games, he has accounted for 693 test points (37 tries, 164 conversions, 58 penalties, and two droppped goals) and Barrett is third on the All Blacks’ all-time scoring list; behind Dan Carter and Andrew Mehrtens.
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said: “It’s a very special time for Beauden and his family and it’s also a special time for this team and its legacy. He’s a big part of this team, he’s a key leader, he’s captained the All Blacks, he’s vice-captain on this tour and he’s an influencer on and off the park.
“I can’t speak more highly about his contribution as a person to the black jersey. The chance to play his 100th Test at this stadium against Wales is really special.”
Wales v New Zealand – Saturday, October 30. Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Referencing allblacks.com, Beauden Barrett has been in electrifying form for the All Blacks in recent seasons, winning back-to-back World Rugby Player of the Year awards in 2016 and 2017. And while the disappointment of 2019 still lingers, the journey towards the 2023 tournament could be the redemption for the national side, with Barrett a driving force towards that end-goal.
Red Roses v Black Ferns, the battle for Rugby supremacy
Equally as important, raising 100 tests as a nation, the New Zealand Black Ferns will savour the fact they challenge the England Red Roses. Their most formidable opponent, the epic game is to be played at Sandy Park, in Devon.
The first of four away fixtures, with two against England and a pair facing France, are the perfect way to prepare for the postponed Rugby World Cup 2021 (to be played in New Zealand). But the mark of 100 International games since the side’s inception in 1990 contrasts the shorter time that the Beauden Barrett 100 test caps has been achieved. A clear example of the frequency that the men’s game enjoys compared to the women’s game.
The team’s official records do not include many formation games against developing nations in the ‘RugbyFest 1990’ before their first official Test against Canada in 1991. Most matches have occurred in years that World Rugby (formerly IRB) has hosted World Cup tournaments, but the Black Ferns quickly established a high standard that saw them acquire wins against the majority of International sides.
Facing England, the record of 27 games played shows 8 defeats, with one Test drawn. England holds the highest number of wins over the five-time World Champions, the Red Roses have raised the trophy twice themselves and it is fitting that the 100th Test by the NZ women, is against their greatest rivals.
All three nations are using this series, and the English and French teams will use the 2022 Six Nations as perfect preparation leading into the Rugby World Cup tournament scheduled for October 2022 in New Zealand.
England v New Zealand – Sunday, October 31. Sandy Park
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