Beauden Barrett is discovering that he simply can't and probably won't ever be able to persuade the masses that he's a good goal-kicker.

The dye has been cast in his case – the market has locked in its view that he's not to be trusted. That he can only lose tests, never win them.

Never mind that right now he's the hottest kicker in the world game having landed 11 of his last 12, opinion won't swing back in his favour.

Opinion about Barrett being fallible, a liability even, is not entirely without foundation. He has made the cardinal sin for a goal kicker of having his worst off nights in tests that the All Blacks have lost.


The maths gets done about the number of points squandered and the margin of defeat and the blame comes Barrett's way.

Never mind that in the second test against the Lions when he had a bad night that the All Blacks clammed up tactically after Sonny Bill Williams was sent off.

Never mind that in the third test Julian Savea dropped the ball with the line at his mercy, or that against South Africa this year in Wellington two tries were gifted to the Boks through intercepts.

It seems the world only sees what it wants to see with Barrett and there has been this determination to pin him as a brilliant player with this gaping flaw.

Lost in history is the perfect record he posted in Dunedin last year which was how the All Blacks managed to sneak past the Wallabies.

Or that in the last three tests he's only missed one kick at goal – a vital contributor in the victories against South Africa and Australia in particular.

Beauden Barrett's goal kicking has been heavily scrutinised. Photo / Photosport
Beauden Barrett's goal kicking has been heavily scrutinised. Photo / Photosport

The contrast here is Daniel Carter, who was only ever seen as a winning goal-kicker.

Carter didn't even need to have a perfect day with the boot to be hailed the hero of the hour. He's strike six out of eight and be considered the difference.


He'd land four out of seven but that could include a long-range effort which would be accredited with being the momentum-changer: the point at which the All Blacks broke their opponent.

History was relentlessly kind to Carter in a way it's not to Barrett. And why there is an eagerness to pin Barrett's goal-kicking as a weakness, a liability even, is no great mystery.

For New Zealanders it is borne by genuine fear that the All Blacks are going to slip out of a World Cup because they fail to kick their goals in a knock-out game.

As much as it's not fair to brand Barrett a poor goal-kicker, there is no escaping that he has been prone to having the odd bad night.

For the rest of the world, the narrative is being pushed because they need to believe there is some way the All Blacks can be toppled: that they have the capacity to implode.

The All Blacks have lost only sevens tests since 2012 and hope is fading that this period is the exception rather than the norm.

Barrett is the straw at which they clutch in the hope that as much as it gives them some kind of confidence, so too will it be eroding that of the All Blacks.

But it's not, as assistant coach Ian Foster made clear when asked to assess the level of concern focused on Barrett's kicking.

"I think it is more talked about than the media than anything," said Foster. "I don't see too many articles saying that he has kicked 11 out of 12 in the last three tests, but if he kicks two out of six and two at the posts, it is like a national calamity.

"We are pretty happy. If you are going to spend all day grizzling about your goal-kicker then you lose focus about the overall part of the game and that is to make sure we win each minute of an 80-minute battle and the goal-kicking is part of that.

"We want to be the best goal-kickers in the world and we are working hard to do that and if you look at our numbers, overall they are pretty good. It is certainly much talked about when we have a game that goes off. So there are lots of other reasons why we didn't win a third Lions test and a lot of that we were in total control of."