Rugby: Picking overseas-based stars could benefit All Blacks in long run, explains Beauden Barrett

As NZ Rugby faces up to the reality of a mass player exodus at the end of the year, star first-five Beauden Barrett has offered his thoughts on why a change to eligibility rules could ultimately prove to be beneficial for the All Blacks. 

He's committed to a second stint in Japan next year, but Barrett remains undecided on whether he'll take up NZ Rugby's offer to return home after that for a tilt at a fourth World Cup.

He is one of several players leaving at the end of 2023 and as the national body grapples with a player exodus, Barrett, 31, has offered an insight into why an eligibility rule change may be beneficial.

He is full steam ahead, as the Blues prepare to begin their Super Rugby Pacific redemption, but he's not racing to decide whether this season will be his last.

"I never thought I'd be staying around after this World Cup, to be fair," he told Newshub.

NZ Rugby is keen to make that happen and has offered Barrett the option to return home, after his stint with Toyota Verblitz.

"Ultimately, my heart has to be in it here," he continued. "I still need to believe I can turn up to work with a smile on my face."

Regardless of what he decides, unless Barrett plays NPC or Super Rugby next year, he won't be eligible for the All Blacks. Under NZ Rugby policy, players based offshore can't play for the national team. 

Rugby Australia allows players with 30 or more tests to be selected, a policy Barrett thinks should start to come into consideration for the All Blacks.

"I'm sure they're already thinking about that," he said. "NZ Rugby won't be sitting there, resting on their laurels.

"They'll be thinking, 'how they can get better and is that an option?'"

Barrett sees both sides. He understands the need to retain top talent in New Zealand, but the 112-test All Black points to the successful European model.

"They [players] learn a lot from their clubs and take it back to their country.

"That's why they're so competitive. They're taking gold nuggets from every club team, so I guess that's an opportunity if we did do that."

Beauden Barrett tackles England's Marcus Smith.
Beauden Barrett tackles England's Marcus Smith. Photo credit: Getty Images

Make no mistake, Barrett certainly doesn't expect preferential treatment himself.

"At the moment, I know what the rules are and I'm just working through my options there."

For now, his focus is on capturing a maiden Super Rugby crown with the Blues.

Join us at 7:05pm Saturday for live updates of the Blues v Highlanders Super Rugby Pacific clash