Super Rugby: Beauden Barrett eyes 'dream' return against Hurricanes in April

A return to Super Rugby against his former team would be the ideal scenario for Beauden Barrett.

The All Blacks playmaker has spent his first two days as part of the Blues squad, returning from an extended break after the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup last November. 

While no firm date for Barrett's Blues debut has been confirmed by Barrett or the club, Newshub understands he will run out on Eden Park against the Hurricanes on April 11. 

Speaking on Tuesday, decked out in the Blues training kit for the first time, Barrett pinpoints that clash as particularly mouth-watering. 

"That would be the dream," Barrett says. "It wouldn't be a bad way to start, but I have to get myself to where I need to be to be part of this team.

"It will be fun and I'm sure it will be heated too."

But neither Barrett nor coach Leon MacDonald are prepared to lock the date in, given the 28-year-old's nearly five-month break from rugby.

Barrett must still get his head around a brand new playbook and integrate himself with his new teammates, while MacDonald's major concern is his new star player's physical condition. 

"Nothing is confirmed," MacDonald says. "The guys out there are conditioned from 10 weeks of competitive rugby. 

"Beaudy's last game was in October-ish - you can't just jump straight back into it without being physically ready. 

"There are a lot of boxes to tick, but we are aiming for mid-April."

Barrett has confirmed his club rugby return on April 4. The two-time World Rugby Player of the Year will turn out for Coastal in the Taranaki competition - his boyhood club, now coached by older brother Kane.

"It's been 10 years and it's a club that I dearly love," Barrett says. "It's where it all began.

"I think it's important to connect with your club as much as possible, and to run around and play with my brother Blake will be fun.

"I hope I get to see a few familiar faces down there."

Beauden Barrett in action at Blues training
Beauden Barrett in action at Blues training Photo credit: Photosport

"I don't read the press"

Barrett's time off included a trip to the NFL Super Bowl in Miami, an appearance at the New Zealand Golf Open, attending the Grammy Awards and time in Fiji with wife Hannah. 

The 83-test All Black was criticised by fans and media for his well-publicised adventures, particularly after the Blues' one-win, two-loss start to the season.

Despite that, Barrett makes no apologies and believes the break will extend his career in the long term, after a decade of pre-season training programmes. 

Barrett says he feels refreshed for his 2020 campaign. 

"It's been a rare opportunity that I am very grateful for, after 10 years in New Zealand rugby.

"Just having extra time to do things I haven't been able to do before with my friends and family has been really fun. 

"It's been beneficial to me and beneficial to my family, and I am grateful for it. 

"I wasn't aware of it [criticism] to be honest. I don't read or listen to the press.

"I've been in no race to talk to people about my break, because it's been my break. How people have seen that is up to them, but I've really enjoyed it.

"This has been more about the future, not about what's been, and hopefully getting through to the next World Cup."

"Excited" about the Blues 2020 campaign

Barrett will spend the next three weeks learning the Blues playbook and working hard to regain full fitness.

But he is itching to get back on the park, especially given the mini-resurgence of the franchise in 2020, winning their last three games on the road. 

"There is so much to get excited about, but what I really love is how grounded and hard working they are inside the camp. 

"It's just one day at a time within the camp and we have worked really hard the last couple of days."

The Blues host the Lions on Saturday afternoon.

Join Newshub for live updates of the Blues v Lions from 4:25pm Saturday.