Tokyo: Steve Hansen’s risk-and-reward strategy with the All Blacks has never been more demonstrated than it will be against Namibia in Sunday’s World Cup Pool B match with the decision to give utility back Jordie Barrett the pivotal role at fly-half.
The 22-year-old, the youngest of the three Barrett brothers in the squad, becomes the 14th player to be named as the starting fly-half for New Zealand in the history of the World Cup.
Hansen’s arm was twisted to an extent into naming Barrett at flyhalf, after he chose just two players — Jordie’s older brother Beauden and Richie Mo’unga — as specialists in the side and decided to rest the pair against Namibia.
“He has been playing fullback and he has been doing a lot of what we have been doing at training anyway,” Hansen said. “He will be looking forward to it.”