A shift to fullback could help Beauden Barrett working their way out of a worrying form crisissays Al Blacken test centurion Mils Muliaina.
Muliaina, who played 100 Tests for the All Blacks between 2003 and 2011, says the best way for Barrett to rediscover his five-star rating is for Blues coach Leon MacDonald to bite the bullet and transfer the All Blacks star from No. 10 to fullback.
Barrett’s performances have been scrutinized during Super Rugby Pacific, with the 112 test veteran unable to come close to the high standards he has set in previous seasons.
While MacDonald Barrett would have preferred to start as his first five-eighth, Muliaina felt it was now time to promote No. 15’s Stephen Perofeta to the playmaker role in an effort to get the best out of both players.
* Super Rugby Pacific: Leon MacDonald insists Blues game is in good shape
* Chiefs make six in a row as they hold Blues in Super Rugby Pacific thriller
* Super Rugby Pacific: Blues coach Leon MacDonald calls on All Blacks to deliver against Chiefs
While the tactic of putting Barrett in the top five was a success last year, Muliaina told The Breakdown show on Sky Sport that the Blues should consider a change in combinations and offer the two-time World Rugby Player of the Year the chance to in the backfield.
“I know it worked for them last year, the fact that he (Barrett) was in 10 and Perofeta was in the back. He (Barrett) has no confidence,” said Muliaina.
“You don’t see that with a great player like Beauden Barrett. He’s still great in terms of how he plays. But he just seems a bit unusual, a bit confused about what he’s actually going to do and that’s a bit wrong .” a ripple effect on the team.”
Muliaina, who played most of his Test career at fullback and has been involved in three World Cup campaigns, said when the Blues get into the attacking zones they can usually rely on Barrett to call the right plays and beat the opposition’s defence. to emphasize.
He’s been slow to get anywhere near top gear this year though.
Given that Barrett has played at fullback in the past and was stationed there when Richie Mo’unga was awarded the All Blacks No. 10 jersey at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, there is no risk of him finding himself in an unfamiliar position.
“When you look at him, it feels like he now thinks he’s a full-back,” Muiliaina noted. “When you’re a full-back, you take a little bit more time, you’re not as assertive (as) in that kind of a playmaker role.
“Perofeta is actually taking that on too. Now he’s kind of quieted down a bit. They’re insecure, almost like when you started those whole 10 and 15 two playmaker roles. It’s now unfortunately for the Blues.
“That you kind of feel that for their playmaker and they kind of lost their direction. So I definitely think maybe they really need to take that into account.”
Barrett was outplayed by his opponent Damian McKenzie as the Chiefs beat the Blues 20-13 to keep their undefeated streak intact in Hamilton over the weekend. It was the Blues’ third loss of the season.
It is no coincidence that the Chiefs are at the top of the league table thanks to McKenzie’s outstanding performance. He also defeated Mo’unga as the Chiefs beat the Crusaders 31-10 in their opening game in Christchurch.
Despite McKenzie’s standout displays in SRP, a welcome sight for Chiefs fans after opting to skip the league and play in Japan last year, Muliaina still believes Mo’unga deserves to be the All Blacks this year to be starting at number 10.
Muliaina said he would prefer Barrett to operate at fullback, with McKenzie, who did not play a test last year as All Blacks coach Ian Foster selected Perofeta in his squad, on the bench as cover for first five and fullback.
“D Mac is a 10-15. So that’s an easy bet from the bench. I think Beauden is now our fullback,” said Muliaina.
“I think Beauden will start at fullback and become a 10 option. I think he’s starting to feel a little bit ‘what am I doing?'”