Beauden Barrett still unclear about starting position for All Blacks in 2023

Beauden Barrett still unclear about starting position for All Blacks in 2023

Star New Zealand utility back Beauden Barrett has admitted that he does not know in which position he will play for the All Blacks during the upcoming international season.

Barrett became the All Blacks' first choice number 10 after their triumphant 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign in England and made a great impact as he won World Rugby's Player of the Year award in 2016 and 2017.

However, the emergence of Crusaders playmaker Richie Mo'unga saw Barrett shifting to full-back at Test level to accommodate both players as the All Blacks tried a ˜dual playmaker' strategy at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

That plan did not work as New Zealand were knocked out in the semi-finals of the global showpiece, but when Ian Foster took over the All Blacks coaching reins Barrett was back at fly-half in 2021 before shifting back to full-back last year after his brother Jordie, who was his country's first choice number 15 the previous year, moved to inside centre.

This year, the older Barrett has been at fly-half for most of the Blues˜ Super Rugby Pacific matches and he was one of three number 10s named - alongside Mo'unga and Damian McKenzie - in Foster's 36-man Rugby Championship squad. However, Barrett's name was also mentioned when Foster was asked about the omission of the Chiefs' Shaun Stevenson, who has been arguably the best full-back on display in Super Rugby Pacific this year.

Barrett believes positional security will be sorted out in the build-up to New Zealand's first Test of 2023, which will be against Argentina in Mendoza on July 9.

"I think that's what these camps are about," the 32-year-old told Newshub. "It's about moving on, getting on the same page with a new coaching group.

"The new players, the combinations, all of that, the strategy - I'm sure a lot of that will come out of the next two weeks before we get on the plane and head away to Argentina."

Barrett was joined in the All Blacks' Rugby Championship squad by Aaron Smith in what could be their final year in the famous black jersey.

The experienced half-back pairing will head to Japan in 2024, to further their respective careers at League One clubs.

And with preparations on track for what should also be the duo's last Rugby World Cup, Barrett said they are enjoying their time together.

"We've had a lot of happy, great memories," he added. "We've been through a lot together.

"We were both named in the same series. It's been great to see how he's developed as a player and a family man.

"We're not getting too emotional about this being significant or the last or anything like that.

"It's just about enjoying each other's company and hopefully doing a job in the black jersey."