By Jake Beleski
Is there anything more bemusing for a Super Rugby side than trying to find ways to contain Hurricanes’ first five Beauden Barrett?
Yes — trying to contain two Barretts.
Beauden has hogged the headlines in recent weeks due to a mixture of his sublime attacking performances and sneaky slap-downs resulting in yellow cards.
But younger brother Jordie has been equally as impressive in his debut season for the franchise and as a pair, they are nearly impossible to stop.
The similarities are uncanny.
The upright, gliding running style, ability to kick off both feet and eye for a gap are trademark characteristics for both players.
Add in the ease with which they read each other’s play and can slice open defences at any moment and it seems, at times, as if they are playing backyard footy together without a care in the world.
We already knew Beauden was a freakish talent who blossomed from deadly impact player to someone who needed to be on the field for 80 minutes.
But Jordie’s rise has been nothing short of phenomenal, and if he continues at this rate he should be included in the All Blacks’ squad to take on the Lions.
He will be battling with Chiefs’ fullback Damian McKenzie for a utility role, but Jordie has a significant advantage in one area — physicality.
McKenzie is an incumbent in the All Blacks’ squad but his limited experiences at the top level to date have been mixed.
His size (1.77m tall, 81kg), mean he is an easy target for opposition sides at that level.
The open structure and attack-based games allow him to get away with it in Super Rugby, but the tight nature of test match rugby means he is a liability in that regard.
In contrast, Jordie (1.95m, 96kg) brings a dominant presence to the physical confrontations.
He hits harder, and is harder to hit.
He is as good, if not better, than McKenzie in the goal kicking department, and offers more versatility with his ability to comfortably slot into the midfield if required.
Players always talk about the step up in physical intensity when making the transition from Super Rugby to test rugby, and that is why Jordie should be seen as the ideal candidate to cover the front-line players.
He is only 20 years old, but has shown enough maturity and x-factor to warrant an immediate call-up to test rugby.
It’s in the family.