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Beauden Barrett returns to play for club side after 14 years

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Monday Jun 17, 2024

Superstar All Black Beauden Barrett proved he was just ‘one of the lads’ this weekend, turning up to play for the Rahotu-based club, Coastal.

In town as a guest speaker for his former school, Francis Douglas Memorial College, Barrett couldn’t resist the allure of pulling on his boots for his former club, lacing up for the second half of their match against Inglewood – a side situated on the other side of the famous Mount Taranaki.

Used to winning ways with the All Blacks, Barrett found himself once again on the victorious side as he helped his side defeat the visitors 52-13 in the Taranaki Premier club rugby competition.

Coastal Rugby Club chair Janet Fleming said: “We did have it in mind that he might play, and if he did play it would be that weekend.

“There was never a guarantee that he was going to play, and injury-wise as well, we actually didn’t know if he was going to play, the team managers didn’t know he was going to play until Saturday morning.”

The 123-cap international has recently returned from Japan after a season with Toyota Verblitz, with rumours now circulating surrounding the prospect of him returning to the in-form Blues ahead of next season.

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This weekend, however, was simply about the versatile playmaker wanting to play some rugby, asking the locals not to tip the press off about his involvement.

“We were hopeful he was going to play so we spread the message around all our juniors that if he was ever going to play this was probably going to be the week, but we asked them not to go to the media because that was Beauden’s wish,” Fleming explained.

“He wanted to be a Coastal lad, just one of the team, and he didn’t want the game to be about him. We respected that and told everyone to just tell their families, spread the word with the neighbours, and just in true coastal grapevine [fashion], the message got out that he was going to be there, we just didn’t know if he would be playing.”

Explaining that it was always on the list to go back and play at his former club, Barrett claimed that it was only ever about finding the time, and thanks to his Japanese journey having now ended, the opportunity had now arisen. The 33 year old added how important it was to give back to the grassroots community.

Having proved himself on the international stage time and time again, it would have been quite an occasion for those having the opportunity to play alongside and against him. In similar vain, Ardie Savea had a similar experience just last year when he played for Wellington-based side, Oriental Rongotai Rugby Club.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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