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March 19, 2018 | by  | in Opinion Sports |
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It’s been a little over a week since an unnamed French pro 14 team offered Beauden Barrett a $3.4 million a year deal, in what would be the most lucrative rugby contract in the sport’s history.

So it’s been a little over a week since Barrett and new fiancée, Hannah Laity, have had the tough decision looming over their heads. Though Barrett showed no signs of distraction in an accurate and relentlessly attacking performance in his side’s 29-19 victory over New Zealand conference rivals and title favourites, the Crusaders, last weekend.

While $3.4 million a season is something that the small town, south Taranaki boy out of Pungarehu couldn’t have imagined in his wildest dreams, some critics say that an offer of this magnitude would be very hard to turn down. Especially in today’s fast and physical game, where a poorly timed tackle could end a promising career in seconds.

In saying this, I believe Barrett’s decision will not be an easy one, and so here are three reasons why Barrett should not take this offer, following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

1. He’s a crowd favourite.

I’ve gone to watch Barrett play several times and he never fails to set the stadium alight. I’d only managed to sit down in my seat momentarily last weekend before I was promptly back on my feet, as the Westpac faithful erupted when Barrett was first out of the tunnel,to mark his 100th game for the boys in yellow. The simple fact of the matter is that Beauden Barrett puts people in the stands, his electrifying pace and ability to turn a static ball into an attack fills stadium seats across the country. The NZRU may not be able to offer him the money that privately owned French clubs can, but Barrett is rugby royalty here in New Zealand. He is loved by the public and he knows that if he takes the offer, thousands of aspiring rugby players and fans alike will be devastated by his departure.

2. Not playing second fiddle

Beauden Barrett was barely 20 years old when the All Blacks won the World Cup here in 2011, and although he debuted in 2012, it wasn’t until until the following year in 2013, when he managed to establish himself as a promising player and a great threat off the bench. He spent much of this time coming into a utility role with 10-15 minutes to go, due to the ageless Dan Carter who played right up to and through the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Barrett is almost guaranteed the same title as Carter had at the previous World Cup, and next year in Tokyo it will be Barrett’s turn to take the reins, and guide the All Blacks to a third consecutive World Cup.

3. 30 is the new 20

Gone are the days of coaches selecting teams that are filled with spotty faced 20 year olds fresh off a successful U20 campaign and with egos bigger than the stadiums they’re playing in. History shows that in order to win a World Cup, you’ll need a team filled with the right balance of athleticism, clever tacticians, and of course experience. There is no substitute for experience, and it certainly pays dividends as the competition gets down to the wire. Beauden Barrett will only be 28 after next year’s World Cup, meaning he will still be in his prime at 32 when the competition moves to France in 2023. If you think 32 is too old for a first class test first-five — Dan Carter was 33 when he won the World Cup in 2015, not to mention the IRB player of the year that same year.  

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