WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Jordie Barrett was oozing so much confidence before he lined up a penalty from almost 60 metres against the Waikato Chiefs that he probably would have landed it from even further back, Wellington Hurricanes team mate Kobus Van Wyk said on Monday.
Barrett, playing his first game for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby Aotearoa after recovering from a shoulder injury, was successful with the penalty on Sunday and gave the visitors a 20-3 lead at halftime.
The Hurricanes, who played almost 30 minutes of the second half with 14 men after Scott Scrafton was sin binned and then sent off, went on to record a 25-18 win. Van Wyk scored two of the visitors’ tries.
“We all thought we might kick it out and set up a lineout but he said ‘nah, I’ll take it’,” Van Wyk told reporters on a conference call on Monday. “Everyone was confident and he just stepped up. It was a great nudge.”
Barrett’s strike was estimated as being from 58 metres.
Chiefs coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Cane, however, have criticised referee Ben O’Keeffe for allowing the fullback to take the kick in front of where the incident that earned the penalty occurred.
Van Wyk, however, said he felt Barrett would have been successful even if forced back further into his own territory.
“He probably had another 10 metres in him,’ Van Wyk said. “It was a massive kick.”
Barrett’s influence was important in helping the Hurricanes to their first win of the New Zealand competition and gave them confidence that would help them heading into their match with the Otago Highlanders in Wellington on Sunday.
“People really don’t understand what he brings to the team,” Van Wyk added.
“He’s got a massive boot, big pass and he brings a lot of width to the team. He’s calm at the back. Yeah, he’s a good player.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Michael Perry