Wynne Gray 's Opinion

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Barrett's game perfect match for Blues' attack

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Give me Beauden Barrett any day. Barrett in Blue, bring it on.

Hopefully the Blues have sent brother Kane down south while he is on his ridiculous tap-dancing sabbatical, to talk sense into his younger sibling about a shift north.

This season, Beauden has been shifted around the Hurricanes backline as punishment for the inadequacies of his forwards.

At least with the Blues he will be given the No10 jersey and asked to wear it all season.

There's talk of some bloke Benji Marshall heading this way - a sort of trick cyclist, flame-throwing playmaker - but he hasn't played the game for a decade and won't be ready to even suit up in the ITM Cup.

Rugby is certainly part infotainment these days so Benji would fill that category but asking him to run the Blues' backline straight off is like asking him to walk across the Tasman to his first training run.

He could be Barrett's apprentice as a way of getting him attuned to the nuances of rugby and aiming up for sevens or whatever else takes his fancy in a change of sport.

The Blues have dallied with too many part-timers or project five-eighths since Carlos Spencer left after 96 games for the franchise.

Some they've looked at have been Orene Ai'i, James Arlidge, Luke McAlister, Tasesa Lavea, Isa Nacewa, Stephen Brett, Nick Evans, Jimmy Gopperth, Michael Hobbs, Piri Weepu, Gareth Anscombe, Chris Noakes and Baden Kerr.

Now there are rising murmurs about Barrett, Marshall, James O'Connor, Matt McGahan and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh.

Barrett is off contract at the Hurricanes and must ask himself whether he would get better tuition from John Kirwan, Mick Byrne, Grant Doorey and Graham Henry at the Blues than he has at the Hurricanes.

Lining up between Weepu and Francis Saili with Charles Piutau in the back field must have more lure than another season in Struggle Street with the Canes.

Barrett's spicy running game, strong tactical kicking and goalkicking, and general awareness of five-eighths play would suit the Blues' attacking instincts.

This is no time for Barrett to be swayed by any feelings of franchise loyalty.

If he comes to the Blues he will find consistent tuition to polish his rugby skills to challenge Aaron Cruden and be ready if Daniel Carter has a stumble or does not return from his sabbatical as sharply as he wants.

- NZ Herald

Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

NZ Herald senior rugby writer Wynne Gray has been covering the All Blacks for almost 25 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

Read more by Wynne Gray

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