Twenty-year-old Super Rugby rookie Beauden Barrett seems set for a blistering season as he prepares to take charge as the Hurricanes' first-choice pivot.
The New Plymouth-born ace has been all the talk in the build-up to this year's tournament following his stellar performances for the Baby Blacks at the Junior World Championships in 2011.
Barrett also had a decent run for Taranaki in New Zealand's ITM Cup and represented New Zealand in their 2011 World Sevens Series campaign last year - an experience he feels he gleaned a lot from.
"I really enjoyed playing Sevens and I learnt a lot," he told SuperXV.com in an exclusive interview.
"The Sevens game is obviously more of an expansive game so I learnt to run the ball more and I like to add a bit of running into the 15-man game now after the experience there."
Rugby seems to run strong in the Barrett family with father Kevin making 15 Super Rugby appearances for the franchise in 1997 and 1998 and also running out for Taranaki 167 times. Barrett acknowledges the monumental impact his father has had in shaping his career and is pleased with his decision to follow in his father's footsteps.
"It was a pretty proud moment for the two of us when I first pulled on the jersey and I have just loved every moment I have spent at the Hurricanes since then.
"My dad has played a massive role in my career and, while he's never been one to push me too hard, he has always been in the background offering a lot of advice and support. He has done a lot for me as a player."
Despite his young age, Barrett believes he has what it takes to do the business for the Hurricanes this season. He remains optimistic regardless of the pressure the Wellington-based outfit faces following their disastrous 2011 campaign.
"I think we just need to stick to our team patterns and follow our game plans and then everything else will fall into place and take care of itself really.
"This is a team sport so, while there is a lot of pressure on me, the other boys are there to help me out and will take as much pressure off me as possible. At the moment I'm not too worried about it; I am feeling a great deal of excitement instead."
Barrett was called up to the Hurricanes squad in 2011, where he earned four Super Rugby caps. While he received several offers to move to some top Super Rugby franchises, he opted to stick with the Hurricanes this season because of his experiences with the team last year.
"Just the opportunity of playing down in Wellington was enough for me to stay. I really enjoyed my first season at the Hurricanes and Wellington itself is a great place."
The Hurricanes are currently on tour in South Africa and will go head-to-head with the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday. Barrett will start at ten and is looking forward to the opportunity.
- Tarryn Steenekamp