Beauden Barrett

Blues hush-hush on Beauden Barrett wildcard

Back from his time playing in Japan and finished with his two weeks in managed isolation, the All Blacks star returned to Blues training on Tuesday.

Barrett's return also coincided with first-five Otere Black limping from the training field after taking a knock to his lower leg.

Asked about the prospect of Barrett stepping in if Black's injury did rule him out of Saturday's final in Auckland, Blues assistant coach Dan Halangahu was staying tight lipped.

"I don't want to say too much.

Beauden Barrett's Suntory toppled by coach Robbie Deans' Panasonic in Japan final

Deans’ Panasonic Wild Knights, including Manawatu product and former Wales second five-eighth Hadleigh Parkes, hoisted the Japan Top League trophy with a tense 31-26 win in the final.

Barrett, whose Suntory Sungoliath were dominant in the regular season, never got into gear in the decider and their late surge wasn’t enough at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.

A masked-up Deans had a typically low-key celebration at the final whistle, in a final played in front of a crowd after much of the season was conducted behind closed doors amid Covid-19.

All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Kieran Read in hunt for Japan Top League rugby title

Deans' Panasonic Wild Knights will meet Toyota Verblitz - where Hansen is director of rugby - in one playoff on Saturday, while Barrett's unbeaten Suntory Sungoliath will oppose ex-All Black Ryan Crotty's Kubota Spears in the Sunday semifinal.

Neither of the former Canterbury and Crusaders coaching cronies will relish losing to the other, such is their pride and rivalry.

Hansen and Deans were first on opposite sides in schools rugby in Christchurch in the 1970s.

Beauden Barrett eyes All Blacks' No 10 jersey

Beauden Barrett, the two-time World Rugby player of the year who has been the All Blacks No 15 for the past two years, told Stuff he wants to be seen as a “specialist No 10” and is driven by the thought of returning to New Zealand and improving in his preferred jersey.

“Absolutely,” Barrett said from Japan, where he is relishing time in the Suntory No 10 jersey in the fast-improving Top League competition.

“I've always wanted to be team first [but] I guess this 10-15 thing has been a system selection.

Beauden Barrett and Kieran Read to clash in Japan's Top League feature match

Both are unbeaten so far, with Barrett and his colleagues effortlessly dealing with a disappointing Toshiba to jump ahead of Read’s Toyota Verblitz, and Ryan Crotty’s Kubota Spears, by a point at the top of the standings in the competition’s red conference.

Despite fielding All Blacks Matt Todd and Seta Tamanivalu, alongside the one-game Crusader Jack Stratton, and Japanese national captain Michael Leitch, Toshiba were totally overwhelmed by Suntory, who underlined their superiority by running in nine tries.

Covid hits former All Blacks' Japanese clubs

The Japanese Rugby Football Union have confirmed 44 players and staff tested have positive for the virus, including 13 at Toyota Verblitz, seven at Suntory Sungoliath and 24 at Canon Eagles, forcing the cancellation of their opening matches of the 2021 season.

Toyota captain Read had been due to face compatriot Barrett in his debut for Suntory, while Ricoh Black Rams were to play Canon Eagles.

The teams have not released the names of those who have tested positive.

Under league policy, the matches will not be played at a later date and will be registered as draws.

Beauden Barrett still wants All Black No.10 jersey as he starts Japan sabbatical

Speaking at a media conference in Japan on Wednesday, Barrett said he aims to remind New Zealand coach Ian Foster of his ability to run the game at first-five after playing mostly as fullback for the national side in recent times.

Barrett has joined the Suntory Sungoliath team in Tokyo to contest the 2021 Top League season, which begins next week, as part of a sabbatical overseas granted in his contract with NZ Rugby.

Beauden Barrett reveals focus as preparation for Top League season begins

The All Blacks star is playing for the franchise in the 2021 Japanese Top League, during a sabbatical which is included in his four year deal with New Zealand Rugby through to the end of 2023.

Barrett’s move north comes immediately after his time in Australia with the All Blacks for the revamped Rugby Championship. Just days after New Zealand’s final test against Argentina, Barrett flew to Japan.

Canterbury bring Richie Mo'unga in for Ranfurly Shield head-to-head with Beauden Barrett

Mounga and Drummond both came on in the second half in Canterbury’s 43-29 win over North Harbour in Albany, while Saturday’s game will be Christie and Jager’s first in Canterbury colours for 2020.

Isaiah Punivai, has also been rewarded with a start in the number 13 jersey following his Man of the Match performance in Albany, replacing Dallas McLeod who is unavailable due to a toe injury.

We were really impressed with Isaiah on Friday, he came on and performed extremely well, so deservedly gets another opportunity,” Thorne added.

Bay of Plenty Steamers sign Blues first five

The 25-year-old is having a steller Super Rugby Aotearoa season with the Blues and despite the fact he is competing with a current and a former All Blacks first-five; Beauden Barrett and Daniel Carter, Black’s form has justifiably kept him in the starting 15.

Black says becoming a first-time dad and getting to be near his whanau was a major reason for signing with the Bay.