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Jordie Barrett’s Best Position Is Inside Centre

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Jordie Barrett may only be 21 years old, but is already an incredibly versatile player. The six foot five Taranaki man played most of his Super Rugby at full-back, but also made appearances at inside and outside centre, and out-half, and on one occasion, a lineout. Embed from Getty Images

he question is, where does he fit in to Steve Hansen’s plans? He has made all bar one of his appearances in black at 15, save for a four try outing against Italy on the right wing.  

New Zealand are not short of options in the back three. The ever dependable Ben Smith is back on great form, Rieko Ioane and Waisake Naholo are flying on the wings and Damian McKenzie always brings great impact off the bench. George Bridge finally got his chance against Japan and took it with both hands. Then there’s the uncapped players, like Ben Lam, or Solomon Alaimalo. David Havili even may yet make a comeback, after struggling for form this year.
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Centre, however there may be more of an opening. Jordie has been criticised for his defence at full-back in the past. He doesn’t have the pace that a lot of his competition do, and his decision making has let him down in the past (see the New Zealand loss to South Africa in this year’s Rugby Championship for an example). At 12, he wouldn’t be as exposed like he would be at  full-back. Barrett has played a lot of his rugby at inside centre, and regularly stood at first receiver for the Hurricanes. Embed from Getty Images

He is a different style of centre to the hard-hitting style of Ngani Laumape, or Sonny Bill Williams, but he also has the size to pull it off, given he’s taller than his second row brother. A Barrett 10-12 axis, or a Mo’unga-Barrett 10-12 combo is a very appealing proposition, and then with Damian McKenzie, or even Beauden at full-back, you have a squad laden with playmakers. Jordie has played both centre positions for the Hurricanes, but when it comes to international, the 12 jersey is the one he should set his sights on. Out of the midfield backs in the current likely to play on past 2019 (Ngani Laumape, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert Brown) there is only one natural 12(Laumape), with Goodhue and Lienert-Brown only really cover for the position.
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While New Zealand U20s did not have a successful campaign in 2016, Jordie Barrett was a high point. Playing at inside centre he scored 52 points (one try) showing his goal kicking talent. The younger Barrett also frequently took over kicking duties for the Hurricanes. Crucially, Jordie is very comfortable about kicking a drop-goal, something that his older brother is still a little bit hesitant about
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As he matures as a player, and his rugby brain improves, it would not be unlikely to see him move to the midfield. New Zealand need the depth at 12. Ngani Laumape is flying, but Sonny Bill is 33 now, and there is few other big boys that can fill the Sonny Bill hit-it-up role.


International

Rugby Australia Make Significant Cuts

Following the coronavirus pandemic rugby has been hit hard with no way of playing games and now Rugby Australia have been forced into making cuts in order to retain staff in the long-run

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia have confirmed that they will be standing down 75% of their staff in a bid to combat the growing struggles that the coronavirus pandemic is causing.

The workers will be released from tomorrow until the 30th of June due to the lack of finances available to Rugby Australia with the Super Rugby season currently on hold and a strong possibility of the Wallabies summer tests being called off. 

In the worst case possible the organisation are predicting a loss of $120 million due to the virus and speaking on the latest developments the organisation’s chief executive Raelane Castle admitted this was the toughest decision she and her colleagues had ever had to make. 

“Today we have had to deliver the hardest news imaginable to our incredible, hard-working and passionate staff, that many of them will be stood down for a three-month period so that the game can survive this unprecedented crisis. Since the suspension of our proposed domestic Super Rugby competition, we have been working to understand both the immediate and long-term financial implications for the game as a result of the suspension of the competition, and potential further loss of revenue-generating content as we look ahead to the international season. Our extensive modelling shows that as a code, we could lose up to $120 million in revenue should it not be possible for any rugby to be played in 2020. Of course, that is the worst case scenario, and we are very hopeful that we can recommence the Super Rugby season and domestic Wallabies test matches at some point this year. The measures we will implement from April 1, although extremely painful, are necessary to ensure the sport remains financially viable and to ensure that we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully-operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild. It is our priority to keep all of our valued team connected and engaged through this period,” she said. 

Castle’s has already taken a 50% pay cut since the crisis began and the rest of Rugby Australia’s executives will have a 30% reduction in pay. 

It is a tough call to make in order to preserve rugby in Australia and the fear is that things may get worse with a fear that not all four of the country’s Super Rugby franchises will make it through to next season due to the financial losses.

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Super Rugby

New Zealand Rugby Sides Facing Pay Cuts

New Zealand Rugby are preparing for the possibility of having to cut wages following the outbreak of the coronavirus

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New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association chief executive Rob Nichol has admitted that there is a possibility of pay cuts among Super Rugby sides with the league in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Over the weekend it was confirmed that Super Rugby would be suspended due to the coronavirus and there is a fear that the competition may not be completed this year. 

Speaking on the situation, Nichol told Stuff that New Zealand’s five Super Rugby side are preparing for the worst. 

“As it stands right now, things are kind of status quo. But we are not naive. We know there is going to be a commercial impact, we know we will have to sit around the table and work with the other stakeholders and be a part of the solution. And get things on an even keel once we understand what we are really dealing with,” he said. 

There are a number of options over the remainder of the season being put forward, with only “derby matches” being played one of the possibilities. 

That would mean a number of matches not being played and a loss in matchday revenue for the respective teams, but Nichol is ready for whatever happens as long as the people are looked after. 

“Whatever we decide to do, it will be that kind of team approach. We know there is going to be commercial ramifications but first of all we will be doing what is right for the people,” he added. 

There is no certainty over what is going to happen in the coming weeks and months, but the ramifications could be huge and Nichol finished by stating that however this ends all sides will work their hardest to make the most of a bad situation with clubs heading into the unknown at this moment in time.

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Super Rugby

Wallabies Ace Set for Stint on Sidelines

One of the Wallabies star players is set to be out of action for the next while due to an injury he picked up playing for the Brumbies last weekend

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Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa is set to be out of action for the next few weeks after breaking his arm playing for the Brumbies last weekend the Super Rugby franchise have confirmed.

The 26-year-old Brumbies captain left the field of play before half-time in the Brumbies 47-13 win over the Waratahs and returned to the sidelines with his arm in a sling. 

It has now been announced that he broke his arm during the game and is expected to miss around six weeks due to the injury with the club hoping to see their star man out on the pitch again soon. 

“The Brumbies can confirm that captain Allan Alaalatoa suffered a broken arm in the match against the Waratahs. Get well soon skip!,” the Brumbies tweeted. 

However, despite the injury it is unknown how many matches Alaalatoa will actually miss, if any at all with Super Rugby currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak meaning no matches are being played for the foreseeable future. 

It could mean that he will be back in action along with his teammates whenever they return to play, whatever happens the hope is that the 37-cap Wallaby will be back to play as soon as possible.

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