Angst surrounding Beauden Barrett's goal kicking has been hard to escape but in All Blacks coach Steve Hansen the first five-eighth has an ally.

In the wake of Saturday's 15-15 stalemate at Eden Park and the drawn Lions series, Barrett's accuracy off the tee has come in for criticism.

This area has overshadowed much else of what Barrett did, including his cross-field kicking accuracy which set up Ngani Laumape's opening try and created an opening for Julian Savea on the other side of the field. Barrett also regularly challenged the line, threw offloads and plugged the corners nicely down the stretch.

After an impressive first up goal kicking performance in the opening test, Barrett finished with 15 from 20 in the series. Ultimately, he missed 14 points.


The Lions' kickers - Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly - nailed 12 of their 14 attempts in the test series. Farrell, in particular, held his nerve to step up and hit two pivotal strikes in the closing stages of tests two and three.

Asked if goal kicking had come back to haunt the All Blacks, Hansen attempted to shield his playmaker and add some context after multiple other chances were blown.

"You can sit there and say that. When you look at the stats going into the test Farrell was 71 [per cent] and Barrett was 81. Stats mean nothing it's on the day you've got to kick the goals. Beaudy missed a couple and he [Farrell] got all of his in this test match," Hansen said.

"It would've been nice if he kicked them but it changes the nature of the game if you do. You don't know what's going to happen after. He kicked some really good goals and he's working through a technical issue that we know he's got - he's knows he's got - but he's getting better and better with it.

"If we sit there and say 'is that the reason we lost?' It's an obvious thing to pin-point but we didn't take the opportunities. Wyatt Crockett is feeling bad about himself because he got held in a ruck and their halfback [Rhys Webb] threw the ball at him when he had no influence. The halfback could have passed it but the law says if he passes it into him it's a penalty.

"You could say that was cynical. That's the issue we've got at the moment. We've got to make it clear cut that we don't reward that stuff. I don't think goal kicking is the only reason why we drew the series."

In the lead-up to the deciding test the All Blacks weighed up whether Beauden or younger brother Jordie, starting his first test but a prolific striker of the ball, should take the kicks.

"We sorted that out at Thursday training," Jordie said. "We had a wee kicking comp. He's the main kicker in the team anyway. That's just the way it was and he was comfortable in his role last night."


Goal kicking has not been a major issue for the All Blacks because they regularly win by comfortable margins. But, clearly, it is just one area they need to improve ahead of the Rugby Championship.