Kirwan denies he wants Beauden Barrett at Blues
July 2, 2014
Beauden Barrett is no longer a target for Sir John Kirwan © Getty Images
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan has denied reports he is chasing Beauden Barrett after failing to lure the All Blacks fly-half from the Hurricanes last year.
The Blues have struggled at fly-half since Carlos Spencer quit in 2005, to such an extent that they signed former New Zealand rugby league captain Benji Marshall from the NRL for this year.
Kirwan said last year that Barrett remained with the Hurricanes "for reasons of loyalty", while the playmaker himself said "I feel we have unfinished business", but the New Zealand Press Association reported this week that Barrett was understand to be "close to moving to the Blues last year but Kirwan's interest in Marshall muddied the waters".
The Marshall experiment failed badly, the playmaker making a quick return to the NRL, and the Blues have struggled for consistency at fly-half this season. The high-profile signing is just one of five players to have worn the No.10 jumper - with Marshall, Ihaia West, Simon Hickey, Baden Kerr and Chris Noakes all having started at one stage or another this season - while Barrett has conducted a season-long masterclass that has seen him pushing Aaron Cruden for the All Blacks' starting jumper.
But Kirwan said on Wednesday that the Blues were "really happy with Simon [Hickey] and Ihaia [West], so we're going to go internally".
"We're talking to both those guys and hopefully will have results [soon]. But our focus this week is the Crusaders and we just want to put all those things aside for a wee bit."
The coach said that Ma'a Nonu was playing "exceptionally well" and "we want him to stay, so we're cruising along and hoping he will be with us for next year which is what he has in his contract".
The Blues have signed Dan Bowden for next season from Leicester Tigers in England's Aviva Premiership, but the former Crusaders and Highlanders player has joined primarily to provide cover at both first- and second-five eighth.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup