Super Rugby 2019: Beauden Barrett cagey over Hurricanes return

Hurricanes first-five Beauden Barrett may get an early call-up to Super Rugby duty, with the Wellington-based outfit already losing one of his back-ups in their season opener.

The All Blacks star has spent most of the summer on an extended break, highlighted by his marriage to Hannah Laity and honeymoon.

He only reported for duty with his team this week and probably wasn't expected to take the field for at least another week, as he adjusts to the training load.

The Hurricanes started Fletcher Smith in the number 10 jersey against the Waratahs on Saturday, but when he was replaced in the second half, James Marshall lasted only a few minutes, before suffering a shoulder injury.

Captain and halfback TJ Perenata was forced out a spot to cover the first-five position.

With the two-time defending champion Crusaders looming on their radar this Saturday, coach John Plumtree may need an extra body to throw at the southern rivals.

At his first media appearance of the season, Barrett gave the impression he wouldn't say no, if called upon, but ideally, it wouldn't come to that.

"It's been a lengthy time off, and I feel really refreshed and ready to go," he said. "It's been timely.

"I've been training the last couple of days and I feel really good, so 'Plums' and I are going through that at the moment.

"It's unfortunate for Jimmy - I'm not sure how long he's out for, but hopefully it's not too long. We'll play it by ear and go through the right process before I play."

While the body and mind feel good right now, Barrett knows that neither are as ready as his teammates, who have spent several weeks preparing for the season, while he was swanning around the world.

"Coming back and seeing the guys train, and how fit they are, they've put in a lot of work this pre-season," he marveled.

"They look really good, so the guys out there deserve to be there and it's the best team we've got at the moment.

"Around my return, I'm still not sure when that will be. I'm just looking forward to getting back in with the group and training well."  

Assistant coach Carlos Spencer - who has played a little first-five himself over the years - was just as non-commital, when quizzed about Barrett's availability.

"Good question," he grinned. "That's probably a question you need to ask Plums."

Mind you, even at 43, the 35-game All Black might still be good for 20 quality minutes against his old enemy.


Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Crusaders vs Hurricanes Super Rugby clash at Christchurch.