Super Rugby 2020: Hurricanes captain TJ Perenara in dark over Beauden Barrett's replacement

  • 22/01/2020

The Hurricanes aren't revealing which first-five will replace Beauden Barrett when Super Rugby kicks off next week, not even to his on-field partner in the halves.

Fletcher Smith and Jackson Garden-Bachop have both been given starts in the preseason in what is being considered a two-horse race, despite both Jordie Barrett and James Marshall being capable of playing pivot.

Halfback and captain TJ Perenara now has to rebuild the team's axis with one of them, after a career playing with Barrett, but is confident either would be up to the task.

"I've known Jackson a long time. He's a Porirua boy, played for Norths, then my relationship with Fletcher has only built over the last couple of years and continued to get stronger," said Perenara when quizzed on his experience with the first-fives.

"I've got a lot of faith in the boys [Garden-Bachop and Smith] and the job they can do.

"The way they've been running our team and the way they express themselves, study film and make sure they're all over our gameplan is something we definitely need and we're looking forward to seeing them out on the field."

Garden-Bachop started the first pre-season game against the Crusaders last weekend, while Smith starts this weekend against the Blues.

Perenara denied that other members of the backline would need to step up to compensate for the two candidates' relative inexperience.

"There are leaders in an environment, there are captains, but in a game of rugby, a 10 runs the ship. A 10 is the decision maker. Our job is to give our 10s, regardless of who's out on the field, the best platform for them to make decisions.

"It's not about myself or Jordie or Ngani [Laumape] having to do more out on the field, it's doing our jobs really really well so that our 10 has a platform that they're comfortable with to make decisions for the team."

The Hurricanes play the Blues in their final pre-season game on Friday, before flying to South Africa to open their campaign against the Stormers.