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game of inches

'I should have just dotted down': Beauden Barrett relieved to be given crucial try against Ireland

It was almost an embarrassing moment for the newly crowned world player of the year.

BEAUDEN BARRETT ADMITS he narrowly avoided embarrassment when Jonathan Sexton attempted to strip the ball from his grasp on his way to scoring the second of three New Zealand tries tonight.

The World Rugby Player of the Year took advantage of a midfield scrum to burned past Conor Murray and over the try-line before trying to edge his upcoming conversion an extra few metres closer to the posts.

He hadn’t accounted on Sexton refusing to give up the score long after he had crossed the whitewash though, and the Ireland out-half forced referee Jaco Peyper to leave the call with the TMO.

“It could have been embarrassing,” Barrett said post-match, “I was obviously trying to get under the sticks to make the kick easier, but I should have just dotted down to make life easier.

“It’s just a natural thing to do. I do it every time, but the ball was in the wrong hand I’m obviously a bit better on the other side.”

Asked if he feared the score would be chalked off when the incident was the subject of slow-motion replays, Barrett accepted he had a case to answer, but was confident that a part of the ball had indeed touched grass.

“The second angle didn’t look good. but I knew part of the ball had hit the ground on the first angle. It’s just a relief, I guess.

Beauden Barrett scores a try despite the efforts of Jonathan Sexton Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

He added: “I can understand why the crowd got in behind it because the second angle didn’t look good, but I was reasonably comfortable I grounded it.”

The Hurricanes star was one of the creative forces in an All Black side who exacted revenge for their Soldier Field defeat with an uber-physical approach which resulted in yellow cards for Malakai Fekitoa and Aaron Smith. Head coach Steve Hansen was in very prickly form in the aftermath of the 9 – 21 win, but Barrett was more even handed addressing the level of punishment being doled out.

“It’s hard getting that (balance). Our intent tonight was: we wanted to be physical.

The Tight Five Rugby Union / YouTube

“Technique may have let us down a couple of times with the yellow cards, but it’s up to the referee to make those decisions. I’m pretty sore now and that’s a sign of how intense and physical the game was.”

The pain though, is much easier to take when you’re back in the winner’s enclosure after a rare turn on the losing side for the back-to-back world champions.

I always like a team with an attacking mindset. Sometimes I was too attacking and we weren’t as smart as we needed to be. I think it was better than  recent weeks.

“It is a little bit of relief, but it’s more the satisfaction of getting back to where we were. We’re getting back to showing how much it means to us through our actions and doing the jersey justice. That’s what it was all about tonight.”

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