Jordie Barrett, with ball in hand, tries to escape from a St Johns player in their annual match earlier this season.
Rugby runs warmly through the blood of Jordie Barrett and the name Barrett and rugby go so well together like knife and fork.
Given the family background, it's not a surprise that Jordie has been selected into the Hurricanes U16 tournament team for 2013, one of two Taranaki players, along with fellow Taranaki and 1st XV team member Du'Plessis Kirifi.
From a large family of 8, Jordie's father, Kevin “Smiley” Barrett, played over 100 games for Taranaki and 33 matches for the Hurricanes, his older brothers Kane and Beauden play for Taranaki, the Blues and Hurricanes respectively with Beauden a current All Black. Plus another brother Scott played for the New Zealand Junior All Blacks this year along with playing in an age-group Canterbury side while at University. It's hard to forget that fourth brother Blake has also played Taranaki age group rugby and is a current member of the same 1st XV with cousin Neesha is the captain of the Taranaki Women's NPC side.
Clearly, rugby is in the blood.
The tournament team was selected after four hard days playing for Taranaki in hot weather at Ruatoria's Whakarua Park during the annual Hurricanes U16 tournament in late September-early October, where Jordie played at second five-eighth for his home province. Kirifi was selected as a loose forward and captained the Taranaki U16 side this year.?
The team features several players from the winning Wellington side along with a number of players from runners up Hawkes Bay, Poverty Bay and Wellington Development.
Barrett remains modest at his recent achievement.
“It comes as a surprise to me. I was just focusing on doing well for the Taranaki team and fulfilling the roles and jobs I had at a high standard” he said.?
Barrett, who is a usually first or second five-eighth, was selected at centre for the tournament team but has never played there before.
“To be fair, I've never played centre, I certainly enjoyed having a role at second five more so than first-five. It will be exciting if I am to play at centre in the near future.
“They [1st XV coaches] moulded me into a second five-eighth. It was my first season playing in this position and the tuition of Stucky [Tim Stuck] and Simo [Steve Simpson] was excellent.”
The U16 tournament team won't play any games together but the 22-man squad will be placed into the New Zealand Rugby system and monitored by selectors and coaches around the country as their playing careers continue. These players will also be looked at for the New Zealand U17 squad.
The selection tops off a brilliant season for Barrett and Kirifi, who both played for the Francis Douglas Memorial College 1st XV, like Barrett's brothers before him. Barrett awknowledges that 2013 has been a big year for both himself and the College.
He played a key role at such a young age of 16 in the College's Hurricanes 1st XV competition where they finished in the top 4 and were unbeaten and victorious in both the Central North Island competition and Hibernian Cup this year.
Along with those respective competition wins, a highlight for Barrett was beating across-town rivals New Plymouth Boys' High School 24-10 in May. The match doubled as an annual fixture and a national knock-out match, which made Francis Douglas process into the next phase of their campaign and finished where no College has finished before.
“I put it [the season] down to the environment we had at the college and full credit must go to Mr Stuck and Mr Simpson” he said.
Older brother Beauden, who follows his sibling's rugby like keeping up-to-date with changing All Black moves. The 22 year-old has finished his Rugby Championship campaign and will leave with the All Blacks for the End-of-Year Tour shortly is proud to be a 'College lad' after this year's performances.
“I'm really proud of how the team played. When you hear of a team that wins so many close games like they did this year it's something special and that's a sign of a good rugby culture and spirit in the College” he said.
That culture and spirit would predominately came from coaches Tim Stuck and Steve Simpson, who have installed that into the 1st XV for years. Simpson left for England before the Wellington College match, but would have been equally proud of their achievements this year.
The College had a strong leadership group including captain Cameron Keech, Blake Barrett and Ethan Perrett to name a few.
Jordie Barrett puts the successful season down to the coaches and leadership group.
“It's been a very successful season for the College. We had a good record this year showing how well our coaches and senior players had the team running. We set the standard this year and can hopefully carry the same things forward into next year.
“Mr Stuck and Mr Simpson were very inspiring this year. With a superb coaching record and plenty of experience it was awesome to be under their wing learning plenty from them” he said.
2014 is another season which Barrett is looking forward to. At just the age of 16, he will continue his vital role in the Francis Douglas' 1st XV with more opportunity to go where no College has gone before.
“Hopefully I will do well in my studies and in my final year at school and wish to have another successful season with the FDMC 1st XV side next year”.
Depending on next year's squad, it's unsure if Barrett is to play at first five, second five or centre but since things have gone so well for him at second five, why fix something when it's not broke. ?