Rugby: Barrett's shoulder passes Hurricanes front rower test

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Wellington Hurricanes fullback Jordie Barrett rolled the dice by not having surgery on his injured shoulder but after being clattered by front rowers in training this week he knew he would be fine to start against the Waikato Chiefs on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - New Zealand Captain's Run - Beppu Jissoji Multipurpose Ground, Beppu, Japan, October 1, 2019 - New Zealand's Jordie Barrett during training. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

Barrett hurt his shoulder smashing into a tackle bag after returning to training following the COVID-19 shutdown but has recovered enough to be named on Friday to start his first game in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

“I had (prop) Ben May come down one channel and then Colesy (hooker Dane Coles) coming down the other channel next up at training two days ago,” a laughing Barrett told reporters on Friday when asked if there were any doubts about returning.

“I think that’s a pass mark.”

Barrett said he had been presented with two options when the shoulder was assessed by specialists.

“Surgery was weighed up but I have gone down the rehab side,” he said.

“There is an element of risk to it but it has been a month and I feel like I have done plenty of work and I’m confident enough with it.”

The Chiefs, beaten by the Hurricanes in their final game of the wider Super Rugby competition before it was halted due to COVID-19, have lost all three of their matches in the domestic competition so far.

Coach Warren Gatland is without All Blacks centre Anton Lienert-Brown, who failed concussion tests on Tuesday, and is desperate to turn some of their good work into positive results.

“We have to get back in this competition,” Gatland said on Friday. “We have been training really well and we feel like we’re really close to clicking.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford