The International Superstar You Never Heard


As the clock went down at the World Cup finals in & # 39; Rugby 2015 & # 39;, the Australian Wallabies are in despair. The 10 points known as & # 39; New Zealand All Blacks & # 39;, must score twice to win. It was forced to start taking chances, and as always happens, the most interesting moment in athletic competitions, they get a little amount. The insulted card turns into an All Black defender who, even as three Wallabies contend with him, manages a very low ball.

Then Beauden Barrett starts running and all New Zealanders start to get excited.

A sports star with a great deal of talent, Barrett is neither too big nor too long. But when he gets a spot on the field and starts to cut his legs, everyone else suddenly seems to play a different, slower game. At the moment Barrett is free from the finals of the Cup final, and the result is a preliminary prediction. Well before he reaches the end zone, there is plenty of time for a whole nation to happily recover from their seats, and stay calm. There will be no blocking of all Blacks right now. Even the ball seems to know it, as it takes an unusual punch for the first minute in Barrett's hands.

Barrett scores, but the celebration has already begun.

At the time, Barrett was not even a star, but for the past four years, he has won two consecutive international awards, set a personal record, and filled a key position for a team last season. in a few years she has won 100 percent of her matches than any point in her history. Case can be made: Right now, Beauden Barrett is the best player in rugby history. That's the land of Michael Jordan.

The crazy thing is, unless you were a former rugby fan, you probably never heard of him. That's partly because, in the international theater, rugby & # 39; s profile is still very low. The popular game, in the US and abroad, as measured by television ratings and the number of players and teams, is growing steadily. But the first World Cup type of sport played by the All Blacks, the rugby Union, did not happen until 1987 compared to a well-established sport, with very little money and, therefore, very little. In 2018, Barrett is estimated to play $ 670,000 for the All Blacks and his professional team, the Wellington Injury. Football star Lionel Messi makes $ 92 million a year.

But Barrett's ability to either ESPN headlines or sports news magazines is also partly explained by the fact that in New Zealand rugby, the show is an anathema and that someone's superiority to the team's success is considered very bad. Getting everyone involved in New Zealand Rugby to talk about "the best team player at the club" is a hopeless task. That's just not the "Kiwi Road." The most I can get from New Zealand Rugby Union General Manager, Steve Tew, is that Barrett is "a professional rugby man."

When I ask Barrett how he remembers his old stadium at the 2015 World Cup finals, the 28-year-old athlete does everything he can to sell his jeans. First, he credits Ben Smith, a co-founder who ended up in Wallaby. He then noted that since he came into the game as a substitute, he compared his new legs to everyone else. Finally, he remembers the miracle that enabled him to put the ball in his chest until he was fully stopped as a stroke of luck. "I don't know if I've ever found a perfect pit," Barrett said. It made my job easier. ”

It made my job easier. Listening to Barrett unequivocally finding ways to downplay his greatness is a good introduction to the Kiwi street as represented by the All Blacks. Neglect and pride are everywhere, but you will not achieve the degree to which Black people make self-sufficiency in the field. And for some of the many motives that come to mind when you attend a show that intimidates All Black, the Maori dance that the band played before every game, humble it is probably the last on the list.

Beauden Barrett in Cape Town, South Africa, 2017
Beauden Barrett in Cape Town, South Africa, 2017 Roger Sedres / Shutterstock

With another World Cup – a six-week 2019 tournament held in Japan in September – the Kiwi national expectation is that the All Blacks will not only win their third straight title but win in style very bad. In the meantime, Barrett will be a startup with the goal of consolidating its historic past. The question that fans of other nations might consider, as they wave before the screams and voices of the All Blacks are poured into the field unanimously, is: How the hell are these guys so good while managing to be goddamned good about?

JUST HOURS HOURS FOR MORE THAN FUNDS at the Wellington airport after a 14-hour flight from California, I found myself in a hotel to find a wrap-up and greet with Barrett and Dean Hegan, the chief executive of a sports agency representing Barrett and many others. one in all black. I emerge from an interview with the CEO of & # 39; Rugby Union Tew & # 39 ;, described by Hegan as "one of the most powerful people in Rugby New Zealand." Steve Hansen, the next day.

This is no more than a slight give of themselves. Within hours of arriving in the South Pacific, I was as deep down as deep as I could get into the beating heart of a crazy nation. It seems like an author who has never played an NBA game suddenly held back-to-back interviews with Representative Adam Silver, LeBron James, and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Jet-lagged and worried about my ignorance, I am sitting near Barrett and ordering beer. Everyone drinks Amstels, so I follow caution. Even as he sits down, Barrett carries a wealth of grace in sports that knows he can do things that most humans can't. But it also plays a calm, moment-by-moment calm that makes it easy for a person to calm down.

Case can be made: Right now, Beauden Barrett is the best player in rugby history.

I broke the ice and mentioned that just five minutes after arriving at the airport, the driver told me he was "an expert on the subject of Beauden Barrett." Barrett greets the news with great enthusiasm and sensitivity. We discuss the problem of violent sports discourse; â & # x20AC; & # x153; rugby hats and rugby pants make the sport safer than American football, I hear, because players are more likely to lead their heads when they are wearing something.

The second round of beard is applied, and I quickly introduce the labyrinthine structure of the rugby tournament. Just like football, the international rugby environment is divided into national teams and clubs that employ the best players in the world. Most rugby nations have their own national championships, but there are also leagues that include clubs from different countries. The most famous example is the Super Rugby Championship, a collection of 15 franchises in five countries. The Super Rugby tournament is just two weeks away, followed by a fast-paced Rugby Tournament, an annual competition between teams representing Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Then came the World Cup, a 20-nation group that included heirs of the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom, a blow to the South Pacific countries including Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa, and several Japanese suppliers (the host country). in), France, Argentina, and the United States

When he completes his second Amstel, Barrett finds himself an excuse, but this afternoon, I find more time to spend with him. We meet in the heart of Westpac Stadium, home to the Hurricanes Wellington, nestled between the bright green rainforest mountains and the harbor at Wellington. Barrett is very careful and the tape recording works but still shows a zero or zero tolerance.

In a way, Barrett is an example of the future of world rugby. He has deals with Tudor and Red Bull watches and over 400,000 followers on his Instagram page. His beautiful wife, Hannah, whom he married last January, is also an influence on social media. After this year's tournament, Barrett is expected to spend a fortune or two in Japan before returning to the Kiwi case.

It’s not the life he was hoping to lead when he grew up in a dairy and mountainous farm in Taranaki province, south of Auckland on the New Zealand Peninsula. His father, Kevin "Smiley" Barrett, never made it to the All Blacks but was a "tough as a teak" veteran of the Taranaki club and played several years with the Hurricanes. Barrett's first memory of rugby, he said, is watching his dad play. I remember watching his team train at night, "he said. "Because you work all day in the garden and then you train for the night."

Barrett is preparing to shoot penalties against Ireland Dublin 2018
Barrett is preparing to shoot penalties against Ireland Dublin 2018 Left column / guutterstock

All four of the Barrett brothers play rugby — two of them, Scott and Jordie, also play for the All Blacks. His mother, Robyn, is a qualified soccer player, and a variety of basketball men who are popular in the Commonwealth countries, was famous for meeting her children at school – but only to bring their own bags. The boys were then required to run three and a half kilometers … foot to foot. The purpose was to hit the bus home.

Robyn, I was told by a Taranaki resident that I met at the Wellington bar, was also responsible for Barrett's "good behavior." For nearly every other sports star, Barrett's efforts to keep him his reputation will appear in perfect shape. But Barrett has a way of sounding better and better. When I look at him, comparing him to 2015, he will be a starter and team leader at this year's World Cup, his answer relates to his honest disarmament. "Oh look, I'm not sure," he says. I don't know what our plan is. Wherever the coaches decide me and the team, I'm happy with that. ”

But then he stopped, as if his brain in terms of whether he was a bit excessive Kiwi way.

"But I expect it to start," he added.

The only time I get out of Barrett is when I ask if the opposite is a "no show" all black show. For the first and only time, he is tense. Nonetheless, the Barrett said, "Respect those who have preceded us and our inheritance."

It does not necessarily indicate how strong we are or how strong we are or how we are afraid, It deals with relationships with each other.

Integrating the Maori community and live in the UK, and later, Pacific Island immigration, have historically been very good ganacsigi New Zealand is still very much developed. But when you get Kiwi rugby fans talking about it, it's a pretty short step to understanding that one of the reasons why the All Blacks are so strong and strong, and yes, scary, is that the team is obviously the same count it as a symptom of different cultures. unity and reconciliation. Maori warrior DNA, the size of the Pacific Islands and its dynamic, resilient English settlers — All Blacks are examples of the combination of power characteristics, and they know it.

"So it's about us," Barrett said. I'm not talking about the opposition. ”

SHOULD DO THE COLLEGE INFORMATION, hardly & # 39; s Saturday in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. At D4 at Featherston, an electric field just a short distance from Westpac Stadium, Hurricane fans gather for points ahead of the game. Hurricane Infection packages are everywhere. A big screen release shows a Super Rugby match between the Buenos Aires Jaguares and the Tokyo Sunwolves, but the excitement it seems to be is high. (There are no Blacks involved, after all.)

Then Barrett runs in and commands Guinness.

Drinking along with fans at the bar in Wellington.
Drinking along with fans at the bar in Wellington. Graeme Murray

Will not play tonight – The Hurricanes cannot improve their position in the game, so most of the team & # 39; Black & # 39; they are sitting out alert to the tragedy of the end of the World Cup – so why not? There is no field observation, but there is a noticeable change in the local bars. Dialogue is increasing and the level of prestige is rising. An All Black is in the house, and not just any Black, but Beauden Barrett. People try to stay cool because this is a Kiwi track, but when Barrett makes the rounds, fans jump at the chance to exchange. I follow him, hoping that the adults will benefit a little from their explanation of what makes Barrett's game so great while Barrett is ready to do it himself. I’m not discouraged.

"He finds it very easy."

He is always in the mix. ”

He is a magician. ”

He is the best man in the world. ”

In rugby, each position has a fixed number. Number 10 always points to the halfway point of flight. In American football, it is what would be called a professional position, such as a keeper, a running back, or a pushback. After all, as appropriate for a controlled riot of a rugby match, half a fly is a type of all three, it is expected to be passable, get kicked and run, track the overall flow of the game, and , whenever possible, score.

The goal of rugby, like the diversity of football, is to put the ball in the end zone. In Rugby, touch rules are called "try" and are worth five points, after which the stories can be changed to two points. Ball is worth three points, the team will also have the opportunity, at any time they want, and kicks the ball to score points looga putting another three points. Cards on the front are prohibited, but there is also a serious person who spends more on rugby than American football or football. Legend says the play's creation dates back to one day in 1823 when William Webb Ellis, a student at England Rugby School, originally said fuck in the middle of the ball, grabbed the ball and started to run. The story may not be true, but the Rugby World Cup winner is rewarded with the Webb Ellis award, when there is little question that the youthful spirit of the & # 39; s career is alive and well. he's fine. Every player can beat or pass the ball, and in the face of the controversy, the game turns into tearing and tearing, in which the older men fight their bodies fully against the ball, far away, like a pack of heavy fighting on a truck.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Barrett has the talent shared by many great players: & # 39; He has plenty of time to act. & # 39;

Half of the fly is clearly better than the fly. Barrett, who is less than 6 & # 39; 2 ku at 200 pounds, can handle the best, but his game is not violent. His name is the symbol of the present moment, the feeling and moving on the possibility that the rest of us have not seen. Steve Hansen, the All Blacks coach, said Barrett has the talent shared by many great players: “He has a lot of time to do things.

Rugby reaches some of its most exciting moments when players of all ages are fully digging the field by throwing the ball from side to side, looking for the difference between defensive ends that will open up the lane to the end of the area. It is at these times that Barrett is prone to displaying his & # 39; s time-and-leisure banter as one of his moving, short-sighted judges, who does not seem to be behind the wheel and loves to play alongside his running mate. as soon as he. Successfully executed, the assassin's hand fired the defense by throwing the image in & # 39; Times Square & # 39; for 3rd party monte cards. No one is keeping an eye on the cardholder, who suddenly passes through open ground. This step seems very dangerous.

It is, almost by definition, not a neutral or humble move.

But what happens on the field should not depend on how one sticks to the stadium. Coach Hansen said he has no problem with what he calls "arrogant football". That is to have full confidence in your abilities, and the trust of the men you play with. ”

And maybe that solves the Kiwi street exchange. All Blacks do not need to talk about the field, or find their personal or celebrity hatred, because the way they play on the pitch is as arrogant as the jazz saxophone that sets them up for optimism. It requires no hijab, or an ornamentation rococo. Black guys, like Beauden Barrett hitting the gap and dragging their jets, are their obvious destiny.

"We believe in speaking out in our actions," Barrett said. In fact, that's the way we like to do it.