Rugby World Cup 2019: The Cup 19 Podcast - Episode One

Jordie Barrett's left-wing selection against Argentina seems to have sealed his fate as 'Mr Fixit' with the All Blacks, in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand's quest for a third straight title begins on Sunday morning in Buenos Aires against Argentina.

With only five tests for coach Steve Hansen and co to trim their squad from 41 to 31, the Pumas clash could be the only chance for fringe players to stake their claim.

In the debut episode of The Cup 19 podcast, host Ollie Ritchie and Newshub rugby reporter John Day break down the 23 players the selectors have come up with this week.

One of the key discussion points is Barrett's selection on the left wing. The Hurricanes utility spent most of Super Rugby at fullback, but with the return of Ben Smith, Barrett’s short-term international future appears to be as a gap-filler.

"We all want to see Ben Smith at fullback," says Day. "He's so good back there - he's an experienced campaigner and provides a calming voice at the back.

"Barrett is a jack of all trades - we will see him in every position, bar halfback, by the end of the year.

"I guess when you go to a World Cup with only 31 players, you need someone who can cover a lot of positions.

"But I do wonder if this is stunting his own development. For me, [Barrett] is a fullback - that's his best position.

"He is a 'Mr Fixit' as far as the All Black selectors are concerned and his versatility, in a World Cup year, is what they like."

On the flip side - right wing Sevu Reece has been rewarded for a sensational Super Rugby season with the starting 14 jersey.

Reece lit up the competition for the Crusaders, scoring 15 tries in 14 games, as the red-and-blacks completed a three-peat.

"What an opportunity this is for Sevu Reece," says Ritchie. "This is an extended trial for Reece.

"We know how good he has been, but test match rugby is a step up."

all blacks team
Photo credit: Newshub.

For more on the development of Ngani Laumape, Vaea Fifita's big chance to impress, the rise of Luke Jacobson and Ollie Ritchie's worst Rugby World Cup memory, listen to the full episode here.

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