Barbarians v New Zealand, Twickenham, December 5
Leonard hoping for a shot against Baa Baas
December 1, 2009
Brendon Leonard is hoping for a good run against the Barbarians © Getty Images
New Zealand scrum-half Brendon Leonard is hoping for one more chance to impress on tour as they prepare to take on the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday.
Leonard started the All Blacks' tour in the No.9 jersey against Wales at the Millennium Stadium, but did not feature in victories over Italy, England and France. With the end of the season days away the spiky Chiefs halfback is hopeful of the chance to cut loose against a star-studded Baa Baas line-up.
"I'd love to go out there and have a great game but it's about not really putting that pressure on myself, just making sure I do my job for the team. From there I can start building into the game," he said. "It's hard when you haven't played week to week, one-off games you've got to make sure you do the job right, first off."
The Barbarians are able to call from a large pool of international talent and should Leonard start he will be up against either Fourie du Preez or Will Genia, two of the world game's form players.
In training Leonard and his scrum-half colleagues Jimmy Cowan and Andy Ellis, who has now returned to New Zealand, have been attempting to simulate rucks in order to procure the quick ball that will see an open and free-flowing game.
"We're getting under a bit of pressure at ruck time and teams are getting better and better at counter rucking the ball, and putting the attacking side's ruck ball under pressure and slowing it down," Leonard said. "You've got to adapt and learn how to clear the ball under pressure. It's something we've been working on. Jimmy did it pretty well at the weekend, a few dive passes, it's something we've just got to adapt to and get better at."
"The fans could not be happier with the opposition and it adds an exciting element to a game that is shaping up as a thriller." Ben Kay previews the Premiership final showdown
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel