Beauden Barrett

Canterbury bring Richie Mo'unga in for Ranfurly Shield head-to-head with Beauden Barrett

Mounga and Drummond both came on in the second half in Canterbury’s 43-29 win over North Harbour in Albany, while Saturday’s game will be Christie and Jager’s first in Canterbury colours for 2020.

Isaiah Punivai, has also been rewarded with a start in the number 13 jersey following his Man of the Match performance in Albany, replacing Dallas McLeod who is unavailable due to a toe injury.

We were really impressed with Isaiah on Friday, he came on and performed extremely well, so deservedly gets another opportunity,” Thorne added.

Bay of Plenty Steamers sign Blues first five

The 25-year-old is having a steller Super Rugby Aotearoa season with the Blues and despite the fact he is competing with a current and a former All Blacks first-five; Beauden Barrett and Daniel Carter, Black’s form has justifiably kept him in the starting 15.

Black says becoming a first-time dad and getting to be near his whanau was a major reason for signing with the Bay.

Beauden Barrett to Japan, but will still play for All Blacks

Britain's Daily Mail is reporting that Barrett will move to Japan in December after signing a two-season, $3 million contract with the Suntory club.

The report says the 29-year-old will not be available for the All Blacks in 2021 and 2022, with New Zealand Rugby agreeing to the deal to help it overcome the economic hit from Covid-19.

However RNZ understands Barrett will only miss next year's Super Rugby season, and not any international rugby.

It is understood any deal that has been reached has been negotiated between the Blues and Suntory, not New Zealand Rugby.

Barrett at the back for the Blues

Blues coach Leon MacDonald said selecting his side for the opening game of Super Rugby Aotearoa against the Hurricanes was the hardest selection decision he had made in his time with the Blues.

Otere Black retains the first five-eigth spot after impressing MacDonald earlier in the season.

"His form was outstanding pre-lockdown and he's come back out of lockdown in even better nick and he's trained really well," MacDonald said.

All eyes on Beauden Barrett this weekend

As well as being his debut for the Blues, Sunday's match in Auckland would be his first against his former club.

Of everything Barrett pondered during the Covid-19 lockdown, it was a moment which occupied more of his time than most.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, he said he knew the game would be a unique experience.

"There's a lot of familiar faces in that team that I know very well.

"It's a game that I've played a few times in my head already and at the moment I'm just enjoying each day.

Beauden Barrett still the fastest 'bronco' around

Barrett posted a time of 4min 12 seconds at Blues training earlier this week taking eight seconds off his previous best for the 1.2km shuttle run, which is completed in five sets of 20m, 40m and 60m distances.

It's a fitness test all the Super Rugby use and yesterday it was the Chiefs turn with Damien McKenzie expected to go close to Barrett's record but Chiefs assistant coach Tabai Matson says while McKenzie has "jet shoes" he didn't pip Barrett.

"He was close to a PB (personal best time) so that's a big thing but there were no world records broken.

Boots on for Barrett at Blues

Hot on the heels of their upset win over his former team, the All Blacks star has joined his new Super Rugby side on the training paddock for the first time this week.

The return of the Blues' marquee signing and former Hurricanes No 10 from an extended break has arrived slightly earlier than some expected.

As much as he relished his post-Rugby World Cup holiday, Barrett said there was a clear moment when his mindset shifted.

"It was a really good break, until Super Rugby kicked off in round one and then my feet started to get itchy.

Beauden Barrett to make first appearance for Taranaki club side in a decade

 Barrett, who ditched the Hurricanes for the Blues for this season, is yet to pull on his boots in a competitive match in 2020.

His first match in five months will be for Coastal Rugby Club in Taranaki, when they take on Southern at Rahotu.

"We're playing Southern, which is a big derby match for us, so it always draws a large crowd," Coastal's chairwoman Janet Fleming told Newshub.

"Having Beauden playing in it is likely to pack the ground out completely."

Blues ready Beauden for the Lions

Barrett was at Blues training Wednesday to meet several of his new teamates after his shift from the Hurricanes.

He made a brief appearance at pre-season training but has been taking and extended break from the game in the wake of the World Cup.

"He's in today to have a look around and see how we are going. We can check on him and see how he's going so it's good to have him back around," said assistant coach Tom Coventry.

Barrett to start mid-April at Blues

Coach Leon MacDonald told reporters in Auckland on Friday that Barrett had attended some training sessions with his new team mates but was not expected "on the grass" until mid-April.

Barrett signed a four-year contract with the Blues in July, ending an eight-year association with the Hurricanes. The contract allowed him the extended break ahead of the 2020 season and also the option to pursue a short-term deal in Japan.

He could make his debut for the Blues in Week 11 of the competition, when they face the Hurricanes on April 11.