Rugby World Cup 2019: Jordie Barrett adds another string to All Blacks utility bow

Very few players have travelled along a Super Rugby or All Blacks back-line as much as Jordie Barrett.

On Sunday, he'll get the opportunity to add another jersey number to his growing collection, when he pulls on the first-five's No.10 against Namibia at the Rugby World Cup.

This scenario has been several weeks in the making, ever since the national selectors named only two specialist pivots in their 31-man squad for Japan - and then elected to play one of them as a fulltime fullback.

At some point - and probably against the tournament's lowest-ranked team - a part-timer would have to be trusted with the pivot role. 

None of those makeshift options was more qualified than the youngest Barrett, who a) is related to one of the world's most accomplished in that position and b) has roamed from fullback to the centres in search of a place to call his own.

His versatility has been equal parts blessing and curse at times, but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is adamant this will likely be a one-off opportunity.

"I don't see him playing too often at 10," he insists. "But in the circumstances we've got, someone had to do it and he's our best choice.

"He's a back-three player, I think. As he gets older, he may end up in the midfield, but for me, he's a got a skillset ideally suited to the back three - he's got a big boot, he's good under the high ball, he's brave on the chase and he's got good handling skills."

With the All Blacks employing a dual-playmaker strategy based around first-five and fullback - primarily Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett - others have also had to acquaint themselves with the requirements of those roles.

Jordie Barrett will already know much of what he needs to implement, with assistance from those around him. 

Perhaps halfback Aaron Smith faces the biggest adjustment, learning the idiosyncrasies of his new halves partner.  

"Little stuff we've already started to do is find out where he likes the ball," says Smith. "It's boring halfback stuff - trying to make sure the first-five gets exactly what he wants.

At 1.96m (6ft 5in), Jordie Barrett is much taller than both brother Beauden (1.87m) and Mo'unga (1.76m), so that's a key point of difference.

"There's a lot of room for error," grins Smith. "Just go higher than lower, if anything.

"He definitely has a higher hip box compared to Richie, but if he has his hands out nice and early, that's all I want."

Barrett has one special ingredient that recommends him for his new job.

"He's got plenty of swagger," smirks Hansen. "That boy's not short of it.

"But I don't think you can mistake swagger or confidence for arrogance. He's not an arrogant boy, he's a humble kid.

"He'll be looking forward to it. I know he's excited by the challenge and he'll boss the game, because that's how he plays."

Barrett understands the significance of wearing the 10-jersey, one he may be reluctant to part with afterwards.

"It's a pretty special jersey and a lot of great players have gone before me, along with the current players here now," he says.

"It's one I'm very grateful for and I'll treasure it."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 5:45pm Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks v Namibia Rugby World Cup clash

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