A Jordi Barrett penalty in the 78th minute gave the All Blacks a 19-17 victory over the Springboks. Video / Sky Sport
From a torrent of spiraling bombs spinning upward to gently strike the historic match winner, Jordi Barrett established himself as a decisive figure for the All Blacks in their terrifying victory over the Springboks.
Barrett, with adrenaline racing through his veins, struggled to sleep on Saturday night, following a 43-yard penalty to guide the All Blacks to a 19-17 victory in the 100th Test against the Boks, whose result also obtained the title of Rugby Championship. Townsville.
Before that, however, it was a tough journey for the All Blacks Back Three. As Barrett tried to defuse the relentless barrage of tall balls, he conceded that the All Blacks should improve in the area ahead of another inevitable Boxing airstrike the following weekend.
Part of the test against the All Blacks three-backs was not just the number of kicks, but also the rotation applied by Klerk’s half-back Faf to the ball. It’s not uncommon for the first five eighths to hoist a spiral bomb, let alone a running back to consistently pull off such a trick from the base.
“I’ve done it before,” Barrett said after Barrett met the Boks on Saturday after the All Blacks moved to the Gold Coast. “It’s hard to compete, but it’s a challenge that I enjoyed. Every time he got ready for a box kick, I knew it was his chance to fly.
“We have to find a way to deal with this because they throw all kinds of different scenarios at us. They do it with their attack 22 and put it on the heads of different people, with a lot of pursuers. So it can be difficult to manage, but this week we have plenty of time to plan.
In return for any attack, Box’s firm commitment to kicking consisted of varying positions and lengths. The short kick proved particularly difficult to counter, as it required squeezing through multiple bodies in very crowded areas of the backfield before jumping for the ball.
“When those kicks are short, it’s hard enough trying to position yours, so position is important in the first place, so you’re quick. You also want to generate enough momentum and momentum to get you soaring. They’re doing it. Do well. They have a rocket hunter that flies up and crashes and then they wait for their big attacker there as soon as you land, it’s a challenge.
Barrett, understandably, fought for teammate George Bridges, who pulled off several high deliveries, including one offered to boxing wing Sabu Nkosi, in response to an early effort from Will Jordan.
“It was very characteristic of George. We all see him in training every week and he literally catches everything. A few minutes later in that game, he took an almost impossible hold overboard. I didn’t tell him too much. Knowing what he is capable of, it was therefore a question of moving on. It didn’t take long for the ball to return to his head. We expected it, but we were able to cope with it. It should be.
“We weren’t as good as a unit as we would have liked, but we took enough to win this test match at the end.”
Settling into his preferred full-back role, Barrett took over from Brother Budden to take on the role in recent weeks. His clutch stroke three minutes from time, after a breakdown penalty from Quinn Tupaya, justified the decision to give him a tee.
Surprisingly enough, given the chance, Barrett squeezed any nerve as he stepped forward to shoot. It was only after joining that a drop of doubt arrived.
“I was about 30 yards behind my defensive position at the back, but as soon as I saw Quinn off the ball I was running ahead before the referee raised his hand. Ardy [Savea] I knew it was in my lineup as soon as we got the turnover so I didn’t even communicate with him, I just went to the referee and pointed the stick.
“I held my breath a bit, I didn’t want it to pull too much, it got stuck directly in the right arm. I felt like I was hitting him very gently.
“I’m very happy with the way I hit the ball. At the end of the game for some reason I like to stand on this ball. Sometimes as a kicker, once you’re in the beat, then you want those kicks. I was really hoping that one of the boys would be traded late in this game. I was looking for an opportunity to try to push us, so I appreciated the opportunity seized.
Despite the aerial combat nature of the ineffective competition imposed by the pressure-based Boxing play, which forced the All Blacks to make 23 turnovers, the win remains the most satisfying of 31 games in Barrett’s Test career.
“If you think you are going to play a lucrative sport and drive South Africa out of the park, you are disillusioned. They don’t allow it.
“Winning a historic test against South Africa, ranked world No. 1 for a long time, is huge.”
With another barrage of high balls to come, it’s time to tackle those fixes.