ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

England's Ford-Farrell example could be a lesson for the Barrett position debate

BY Stephen Brunsdon  ·  Thursday Jul 23, 2020

Ask anyone in New Zealand what position they think Beauden Barrett should play and you will surely get a mix of replies. Whether it’s fly-half or full-back, it’s something that divides opinion.

ADVERTISEMENT

Former Springbok Butch James knows this all too well. The 42-time capped out-half admitted he found the decision to play Barrett at 15 at both Super Rugby and international level “very strange”.

Barrett is eyeing a return to his customary position of fly-half for the Blues following an injury to incumbent Otere Black.

Speaking as part of the Use it or Lose it show, hosted by fellow ex-team-mates Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers, James feels like the All Blacks should be allowing their “best player” to get his hands on the ball as often as possible.

“I know Richie Mo’unga has also been brilliant and been playing good rugby but you would want your test player, not to be playing fly-half but to be getting his hands on the ball as much as he can,” James said.

“For me, at full-back, he probably gets some good opportunities to counter-attack but he’ll never get as many opportunities as he would as a fly-half.”

The competition for the 10 jersey in New Zealand is perhaps at its highest now with Barrett and Mo’unga both playing at a world class class. It’s not the first time the All Blacks have had a conundrum in this position either, having had to find a way to fit in the likes of Luke McAlister and Dan Carter moving between fly-half and centre.

ADVERTISEMENT

Currently, the All Blacks situation is a little more complex due to the fact that Barrett and Mo’unga are both exceptional out-halves, leading to the almost necessary inclusion of each in the match day 23. Damian McKenzie is another who can possibly sympathise with Barrett, having alternated between 15 and 10 in his career so far.

THE ENGLAND DEBATE

If there is one key comparison, it’s with England’s choice to play Owen Farrell and George Ford in the same starting line-up, with one at fly-half (generally Ford) and the other (Farrell) at inside centre. As Burger says, when things go your way, the problems of players not accustomed to playing in their preferred position are not as clearly demonstrated as when they’re under pressure.

James concurred: “I think England is the prime example, they missed a little beat there with playing Farrell at 12, I would have moved him into 10,” said James.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Especially against us [South Africa], move him into 10, [Manu] Tuilagi at 12 and [Henry] Slade at 13. I think that’s their best 10, 12, 13 combination.”

It’s a debate which will undoubtedly carry out in New Zealand, but there may be some inspiration from the good and bad of England’s own situation.

Comments




Related Articles

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    From Barcelona to the Top 14 - rising star...

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    Jamie Heaslip Exclusive: Respectfully...Ireland...

  • 53 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Open and honest John Dobson delivers...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    The dummy that sold the whole of Perth - including the cameraman

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Bayonne score 'one of the best tries you'll ever see' in latest match against Exeter

  • 19 WEEKS AGO

    Baloucoune shows Andy Farrell what he's missing as the winger tears through Harlequins defence

  • 31 WEEKS AGO

    Seriously impressive Courtney Lawes compilation released after England player calls time on international career

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Debate rages on after Maro Itoje sent to bin for high shot

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Fiji Drua player Lomani slapped with ban following elbow attack

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    The sending off that rocked the Six Nations opener

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Wrecking ball beats 10 players to score full length of the pitch try

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Wild start at Twickenham as Quins pull off another wonder-try

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Tickets now on sale as World XV set to face France in thrilling encounter

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    '60 metres, plus change' - massive drop goal stuns fans

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Referee makes 'tackle of the season' as he gets too close to the action

View All

Funnies

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Louis Rees-Zammit's real reason for NFL move exposed

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    George Ford falls victim to the kickers curse

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    Awesome scenes as Blitzbok fan throws down at the HSBC SVNS

View All

Amateur

  • 72 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 72 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 95 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 95 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 96 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Toulouse player ratings: "Does this Dupont fella ever take a day off?"

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Saracens new flyhalf orchestrates incredible victory for Crusaders over the Blues

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Exclusive: Jack Clement highlights Gloucester's mindset heading into Challenge Cup final

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Former World Rugby Player of the Year on bench as Champions Cup final squads are announced

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Ellis Genge responds after being ruled out of summer tour

View All