The All Blacks know Beauden Barrett is never going to be a great goal-kicker but they are prepared to put up with that because of his brilliance in other areas, according to former England and Lions five-eighths Stuart Barnes.
Writing for the Times, Barnes highlighted the Jekyll and Hyde performances of Barrett, noting the poor kicking that cost victories against the Lions and the Springboks and how they contrasted with Barrett's four-from-four against Argentina last week.
"Whichever one turns up, it won't make a blind bit of difference to New Zealand's approach to the sport. He can kick 10 from 10 but given his overall record, he is never going to be a great goalkicker," said Barnes.
"Having amassed an awe-inspiring 29 tries in five games in the Rugby Championship, it may be that the All Blacks have decided that they don't need a metronomic boot. Five tries a game should suffice to make them world champions for a third successive time next autumn in Japan.
"It's a good risk to take. The odds stack in their favour,'' said Barnes.
''Barrett is the most instrumental attacker in their team. He is one of their many strengths but he is their biggest weakness and that will not change … he doesn't have the mental attributes to be one of the world's most dependable kickers."
The All Blacks' coaches seemed to accept that there would be inconsistencies off the kicking tee from Barrett.
"Barrett has special dispensation. That's how it is with this goalkicker. They rally around him in defeat. No other All Black would get off the hook had he played such a part in defeat. But Barrett is allowed off days."
Barnes wrote that the tougher kicks were the ones closer to the posts because the burden of expectation was much higher.
"New Zealand win big with their man. Yet he will occasionally lose them a big one."