Super Rugby 2019: Hurricanes coach John Plumtree trusting the process on Beauden Barrett re-signing

Hurricanes coach John Plumtree is putting his faith in the process over the future of superstar fullback Beauden Barrett.

With his contract expiring at the end of this season, the All Blacks lynchpin has been linked to a shock transfer north to join the Blues.

Speaking at Hurricanes training on Thursday, Plumtree stressed they had no real insight into what Barrett's intentions may be and were simply going through the same protocol they would for any player approaching the end of their term.

"He's out of contract," said Plumtree. "We've got other players out of contract as well and they all attract attention.

"We just go through a process along with New Zealand [Rugby]."

Debuting in 2011, the 28-year-old has spent his entire Super Rugby career with the Hurricanes, leading them to their maiden title in 2016 to cement his status as one of the greatest players in franchise history.

"Beauden knows just how much we love him here and he's been a Hurricane for a long time. He's still got lots of rugby left in him and we want him to carry on in our jersey.

"So we've just got to go through the process, at the moment."

Barrett is one of the final key pieces of the All Blacks puzzle yet to re-sign beyond this year.

He's already signalled his intention to follow in the footsteps of the recently recommitted Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, by taking a sabbatical next year. If that happens, he wouldn't appear for the Blues until the 2021 season.

He would likely spend his year away playing for a European or Japanese club team, where Plumtree believes most of Barrett's suitors have come from.

"There's probably more competition from overseas, but it's no different to Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick," he said. "They always just go through what they want to do.

"Do they want to see another World Cup? Do they want to go offshore and make money… or do they want to carry on with NZ Rugby and play more rugby for the All Blacks?"

Ultimately, the call is based on individual priorities, says Plumtree. For a player as accomplished as Barrett - a World Cup and Super Rugby champion, twice named World Rugby Player of the Year - those priorities are difficult to predict.

"They've got all those decisions to weigh up and those are all personal decisions."

At the other end of the rumour, Blues coach Leon MacDonald dismissed talk of a Barrett acquisition on a similar premise as Plumtree. 

"Every time a high profile player comes off contract there's going to be interest from every club," said MacDonald. "We've seen it with our own players and this is no different."


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