ALL BLACKS. Is Jordie Barrett the most versatile player on the planet?

In time, there was indeed Matt Giteau, whose fact of having managed to evolve in 12, in 10 but also in 9 with the Wallabies was a sacred performance. Or even François Steyn, who still plays for the Springboks despite his 35 years and nearly 80 selections, alternating between the center, the opening and the back as one changes his shirt. But the situation that interests us here is probably unique in current international rugby: Jordie Barrett, the usual rear of the All Blacks, will start in number 12 this weekend against Australia. A first – in the pipeline for some time – for anyone who has already played 15, but also 11, 14 and 10 in the black jersey. An extreme versatility, which he is perhaps the only one to possess today…

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It must be said that between his above-average physique (1m96 for 102kg), his game at the foot of a mammoth, his interesting qualities of speed but also and above all his excellent understanding of the game, the man with 44 selections is those that you are inevitably tempted to move like a pawn every weekend, depending on the needs of your team. Yep, Jordie is good in the air, tough on the man in defence, ‘loves chocolate’ as they say, and is also a real option in the kicking game wherever he plays. And in addition to stumbling. In this case, in the first center against the Wallabies, he will perfectly fulfill the function of a 5/8th alongside Richie Mo’unga, a solution that Ian Foster and his men have been thinking about for a while. Will the association work? Impossible to guess, for the time being, even if such an addition of talents who stink of rugby behind (Mo’unga, J. Barrett, Jordan, B. Barrett) can bode well for Eden Park.

Without forgetting Carreras, Petaia and the others

But by the way, does Jordie Barrett have global competitors in terms of versatility? At first glance, one would be tempted to say no, as his profile seems unique. Despite everything, it should be noted that not so far from us, the talented 3/4 Argentinian Santiago Carreras, currently installed at the opening with the Pumas, also plays at the back and on the wing with as much facility. The sense of the game, the individual technique and the athletic qualities of the Gloucester player allow him to be good everywhere, you will agree. Even if the position in which he excels the most remains that of rear, in our opinion.

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Behind, we could also mention Jordan Petaia, who started for the first time at the back with the Wallabies last July against England, after having already evolved in the center and on the wing in selection. With a particularity: that of not being fixed in any position, while he has been international for 3 years now. Let’s also mention the case of Juan Cruz Mallia, who essentially plays only at the back (or in the center) with the Pumas, but who is, as you know, largely capable of playing on the wing, his appointed position at the Toulouse Stadium. Finally, on the international scene, the profile most similar to the youngest of the Barretts would finally perhaps be James O’Connor, who like NZ, has already played in 4 different positions with Australia. A time installed on the right wing of the Aussies, the former Toulonnais made his debut at the back in selection, before of course knowing the number 13 and the post of opener, in a much more recent past with the Wallabies. Profiles – until proven otherwise – well identified in the southern hemisphere…

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The article is in French

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