Saturday, 8 April 2017
Scott Barrett signs with Port Taranaki Bulls
Exciting young All Blacks lock Scott Barrett is coming home – signing with the Port Taranaki Bulls for the next two seasons.
Barrett, who was born and bred in Taranaki but has been studying and playing rugby in Canterbury, has signed with the union for the 2017 and 2018 Mitre 10 Cup seasons and will join brothers Beauden and Jordie in pulling on the amber and black jersey. Beauden re-committed to Taranaki rugby last August, and Jordie signed from Canterbury in December.
“I’m really excited at the prospect of playing for Taranaki – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Scott Barrett said. “I have strong family connections with Taranaki rugby and grew up watching dad [Kevin] play for the province so it’s very special – we’re proud Taranaki people.”
Raised in Pungarehu, Barrett (23) was a star player for the Francis Douglas Memorial College first XV before moving south to Canterbury to attend Lincoln University. The 2013 New Zealand under-20 player of the year, Barrett made his debut for Canterbury in 2014 and has played a key role in the red and blacks’ back-to-back Mitre 10 Cup championship victories. Now in his third season with the Crusaders in Super Rugby, he has amassed 28 caps and is proving an integral and influential member of the team as they have gone unbeaten to start the 2017 season.
An impressive 2016 for both the Crusaders and Canterbury saw the 1.98m Barrett selected for the All Blacks’ end-of-year tour, during which he made his debut against Ireland in Chicago. He has now been capped four times for the All Blacks.
Barrett is to graduate with a Bachelor of Agriculture and said with his studies now complete and with both Beauden and Jordie committing to Taranaki, the timing was right to move north.
“But it’s been a really hard decision to make as I’ve made strong connections with Canterbury. I’ve really enjoyed it here and have made good mates, so it took me a long time to make this decision.
“I'm happy with the progress I've made on the field with my rugby development at the same time as getting a university degree under my belt. I really appreciate the people who have supported me to make this possible,” Barrett said.
While Beauden’s All Blacks commitments make it unlikely he will play for Taranaki this season, Scott Barrett said he was excited at the chance to play alongside Jordie in Taranaki colours.
“It would be that extra bit special. It will also be great being around the team and being able to help out,” he said.
Taranaki Rugby Football Union chief executive Michael Collins said he was thrilled the union was able to bring another top Taranaki player home. All Blacks ‘apprentice’ Jordie has signed with Taranaki for two years, and World Rugby’s player of the year, Beauden, has signed on with the province through to the end of 2019.
“Scott is a very talented player and has achieved a lot while playing in Canterbury, so we’re delighted he has agreed to come home and join the Port Taranaki Bulls,” Collins said.
“Having Beauden, Jordie and now Scott – three current or up-and-coming international stars of the game – want to be a part of Taranaki rugby is really exciting for the union, fans and sponsors. We consider it hugely important for the success and growth of the game that local talent plays for Taranaki.”
Port Taranaki Bulls coach Colin Cooper said Barrett’s inclusion would be a huge confidence boost for the team and was a positive sign that Taranaki, the 2014 championship winners and semifinalists of the past two years, could attract high quality players.
“As an All Black he’s a player who could go anywhere, so for him to choose to come home and play for Taranaki is immense. The confidence and positivity he’ll bring to the group will be massive and he’ll be able to assist and guide our young players.”
Cooper said Barrett, who has played at both lock and loose forward for the All Blacks, Crusaders and Canterbury, was a highly talented player with a great skillset.
“He does his core role of kickoffs, lineouts and scrummaging very well, and he is also very athletic and has good ball skills. He is used in the key first receiver role so his catch and pass skills are very good. He has a very big future ahead of him.”