Sunday 25 June 2017

'It's basically how you've seen Ireland play' - Beauden Barrett expecting Lions to pose similar threat to Ireland

Beauden Barrett of New Zealand is driven back in the tackle by Ireland players Andrew Trimble, Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier during the Autumn International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Beauden Barrett of New Zealand is driven back in the tackle by Ireland players Andrew Trimble, Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier during the Autumn International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Reigning World Rugby Player of the Year and New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett is expecting the Lions to play in a similar manner to Ireland when the All Blacks take on the tourists this summer.

Ireland were the only team to deny New Zealand an undefeated 2016 season last year when Joe Schmidt's side upset the All Blacks 40-29 in Chicago in November, before Ireland succumbed to the defending World Champions in the return game in Dublin two weeks later.

Barrett played the full 80 minutes in both games, and feels that the Lions will play a similar brand of physical, set-piece orientated rugby when they kick off their 2017 tour of New Zealand against the New Zealand Barbarians in June.

"I remember them (the Lions) being over in 2005 and, having experienced northern hemisphere rugby of late, it's going to be huge," Barrett told The Telegraph's Charlie Morgan.

"We've learned a lot about our game, so perhaps we'll adapt better when they arrive.

"It's certainly different to Super Rugby and the general way we play down south. It's very forward and set piece-orientated. It's often a defensive, tactical game.

"I wouldn't say it's hugely free-flowing. It's real Test match footy. It's applying pressure.

"It's hard to explain, actually, but it's how you've seen Ireland play, in particular."

Barrett added that the All Blacks encouraging environment and his ability not to take rugby too seriously were key factors in his stellar 2016 season, in which he scored eight tries in 10 international appearances as he picked up the 2016 World Rugby Player of the Year award.

“I guess it was the confidence I got from the chance to drive the team. Steve and Fozzy [Ian Foster] believed in me, which certainly helped.

"On the field, I just tried not to overthink things. I take a laid-back approach to a lot of things in life and, at the end of the day, rugby’s just a game. If you overthink things, you end up doing things without the right reasons in mind.

“The great thing about this team is that we’re not conservative. We’re encouraged to put ourselves under pressure and deliver plays. It’s great.”

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