Saturday 17 February 2018

Athlone awaits debut of very own All Black

DAN CARTER is set to build on his superb display last weekend in Saturday's second Test in Christchurch, with Aaron Cruden his designated back-up. However, if young Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett wins his first cap in this series, it will cause a glass or two to be raised in the Irish midlands.

Barrett's father Kevin was a tough, rangy forward who played more than 150 times for Taranaki as well as representing the Hurricanes in the late 1990s. He then spent some time in Ireland where he played with distinction for Buccaneers in the AIL.

Kevin was part of a heavyweight front five, packing down next to Colm Rigney in the second-row behind giant props Jimmy Screene and Martin Cahill.

Barrett Jnr is a different mould of player to his old fella, a confident, running out-half with a big boot, who has already been likened to Andrew Mehrtens following a string of impressive performance for the Hurricanes.

And maybe Ireland can take some credit for that as Beauden, in addition to playing mini rugby for Athlone, also tried his hand at Gaelic football during his father's time in the midlands.

After first Test we're not so self-assured

BEING forced to sing on the bus to training is a long-standing tradition in rugby, with players taking time out to learn off various ditties to prevent against humiliation when called upon.

Given the harrowing nature of the first Test defeat and the daunting prospect of a fired-up All Blacks side seeking to produce a big performance on their return to Christchurch, any source of inspiration should be gratefully received, musical or otherwise.

But that was hardly the case yesterday when one of the tour photographers chose to sing that Beatles classic 'Help'.

Irish Independent

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