Cape Town – Few people are better placed to assess World Rugby’s two-time player of the year Beauden Barrett’s ability than All Blacks and Hurricanes team-mate TJ Perenara.
Adding even more strength to his view is the fact the pair form one of the key combinations in any rugby side, that of scrumhalf and flyhalf, where experience and time together can make the game one of instinct in key moments.
What he felt made Barrett so much different was based around his “top two inches”, Perenara said.
He is one of the fastest, and most skilful, players in the game but he was almost the most composed player Perenara had seen.
“He doesn’t let a hell of a lot bother him,” Perenara told the All Blacks’ official website.
“Out on the field he doesn’t let the moment bother him. I remember playing with him here [Eden Park], we would have been 21 years old, and Conrad [Smith] scores a try against the Blues to put us within one point and as a 21-year-old kid he stands up and kicks the conversion to win it.
“I had been subbed off at that time and to watch him step up and not care about the moment or whatever, it was just a kick at goal, was a credit to him.
“That’s probably the best thing he brings to our environment. Yes, he’s amazing with what he can do out on the field but his top two inches and the calmness he brings to everyone else is what I think makes him special.
“Beauden’s a special player. A lot of people over the last little while have been questioning him and his ability and I said it last week in the media that no-one should ever question Baz out on the field. A lot of the stuff people say is purely to create tension and create hype but I think what Baz does out on the field is pretty special.
“There’s always going to be people who try and knock people down but I’m one of those people who, sometimes when he does some stuff out on the field, just look at him in awe of the sort of stuff he can do. And the work he puts in throughout the week enables him to be able to do that sort of thing.”
But Perenara said all the talk had no effect on Barrett. He knew his ability and what he was capable of.
“We’ve played a lot together and grown up together and we don’t really read a hell of a lot in the media,” added Perenara.