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Hansen hails ‘special’ Barrett after phenomenal four-try fireworks

Steve Hansen believes Beauden Barrett’s scintillating showing against Australia on Saturday was further evidence he deserved to hold off Richie Mo’unga as New Zealand’s first-choice fly-half.

Barrett made history in the 40-12 Rugby Championship thrashing at Eden Park, becoming the first All Black to score four tries against the Wallabies as Hansen’s side retained the Bledisloe Cup in convincing fashion, following on from last week’s 38-13 win in Sydney.

Before the tournament, there were suggestions that Mo’unga – who won the Super Rugby title with the Crusaders – could usurp Barrett and gain a starting berth at 10.

However, Barrett was given the nod for both clashes against Australia and, after he contributed 30 points in Auckland, Hansen heaped praise on the two-time world player of the year.

“Beauden is a special player, we know that. He has been the world player of the year for the last two years,” the head coach told a media conference.

“I understand everyone getting exciting about Richie Mo’unga, because we’re excited about him, he’s an outstanding young man and an outstanding young player and going to be great as the years go by.

“But you can’t buy experience and you can’t buy moments in the middle.

“Beauden’s had those and we saw what happens when they all click together, like tonight.

“I thought it was a pretty special performance by the team. One of the harder things in sport is to back up a scoreboard-dominant win, which we got in the first Test.

“Tonight we had to come back out and earn it again and we had to work hard. I thought Australia played well in patches and the boys got better and better as the night went on.”

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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