The All Blacks fly-half talks dancing, dinner guests and dairy farming
An offbeat Q&A with New Zealand‘s Beauden Barrett
Do you have any phobias?
Yes, I’m claustrophobic. When I was at boarding school a guy locked me in a cupboard. It felt pretty traumatic. I don’t have any problems with long-haul flights, but when I get caught under anyone…
How was your relationship with your brothers growing up?
We would hang out a lot. It’s difficult being away from the family and farm now, but realistically I’ll only go back a couple of times a year. It was the best place to grow up. It was pure joy, just kicking the ball around.
Would you go into farming after rugby?
No, I won’t. My brother Scott may do. It’s probably not for me. I enjoy the lifestyle (in the country) but not the grind of a dairy farmer’s life.
Who are the jokers you have played with?
Before Izzy Dagg retired, he was up there. There’s a guy called Salesi Rayasi – watch this space – and there’s also James Marshall, who used to play at the Hurricanes.
Any practical jokes you can share?
One guy recently called Billy Proctor pretending he was Matt Proctor. That went on for a very long time.
Baz. That’s it at the moment but at school I was called all sorts. I was called ‘Cat’ but I can’t really tell you why. Let’s just say it has something to do with my brothers.
What winds you up?
Basic rudeness and, well, not necessarily being ignorant, but when people are late and don’t apologise or just use the same excuses. ‘Ah yeah, sorry I’m late again.’
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If you could be any of your team-mates, who would you be and why?
One of the boys who can dance – that’s one of the biggest ones as I’m terrible at dancing. The island boys in particular have good rhythm. Julian Savea can dance well. Ardie Savea is a cool guy too.
Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
TJ Perenara – he can talk his way out of anything. He’s so entertaining to fly with.
What superpower would you like to have?
To fly. No, to teleport. I’d probably teleport to the first tee. But I wouldn’t want to have superpowers in golf. It would be no fun driving the ball 600 yards.
What’s been your silliest purchase?
My wife would say my wardrobe choices because I can’t be trusted on my own. I’ll like something and then “horrendous” and “disgusting” are words that are thrown around. I bought this one T-shirt that was half black, half white and my wife called me an orca whale!
Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
I would have Tiger Woods so that I could pick his brains about golf. Then it would be Tom Brady and Michael Jordan. That’s three sportsmen. I’m a lover of all sports and I appreciate greatness. I’d love to have a conversation with them.
The best advice you’ve received?
Probably something I was told last year by Steve Hansen. He said: “Life is not about being perfect.” I was getting too frustrated from not achieving perfection, maybe my standards were too high. Another time I was told: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” You don’t drop standards but also don’t worry too much.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Chocolate. I’d smash a block of Whittaker’s the night before a game.
What would you save if your house was on fire?
If everyone is safe, I would save my collection of Tudor watches.
Any hidden talents?
Certainly not dancing! I’d back myself in many sports. I’ve been lucky to try as many sports as possible, even just in the backyard. But Jordie (brother) is a better cricketer.
What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
I’d like to have a positive influence wherever I can and make people feel better.
How’d you like to be remembered?
As a genuine and nice bloke but also someone who is exciting on the field. I’ve got no intentions of being a safe player. I want to entertain people.
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This first appeared in the October 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.
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