Barrett expecting war of attrition when All Blacks face Lions


New Zealand star Beauden Barrett is expecting a war of attrition in the upcoming Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

The World Rugby Player of the Year believes the All Blacks will be facing an entirely different challenge to what they know in Super Rugby, highlighting the tactical and defensive skills of teams in the northern hemisphere.

Barrett, who has brilliantly filled the void since the legendary Dan Carter retired after the 2015 World Cup, says the Lions - who have not won a series in New Zealand since 1971 - are likely to employ tactics similar to those used by Joe Schmidt when Ireland stunned the All Blacks in Chicago last November.

"I remember them [the Lions] being over in 2005 and, having experienced northern hemisphere rugby of late, it's going to be huge," Barrett told the Telegraph.

"We've learned a lot about our game, so perhaps we'll adapt better when they arrive.

"It's certainly different to Super Rugby and the general way we play down south. It's very forward and set piece-orientated. It's often a defensive, tactical game.

"I wouldn't say it's hugely free-flowing. It's real Test match footy. It's applying pressure. It's hard to explain, actually, but it's how you've seen Ireland play, in particular."

Barrett says his main focus when playing for New Zealand is results rather than pleasing the crowd, but enjoys the attacking manner in which head coach Steve Hansen likes his team to play.

"For me, it's about getting the balance right," said Barrett. "If it's on to kick 10 times out of 10, you keep doing it.

"You don't stop to think, 'We're doing this too much'.

"You hammer it home. You've got to get the ball into space, and there are many different ways of doing that. The great thing about this team is that we're not conservative.

"We're encouraged to put ourselves under pressure and deliver plays. It's great."