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All Blacks young gun Barrett on the rise

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/12/2016 Angelo Risso

Jordie Barrett started 2016 kicking a ball around a rugby paddock for Lincoln University, and ended it with the All Blacks in Paris.

So it's safe to say the Taranaki-born utility has enjoyed a fairly good year.

Barrett, 19, earned a pair of trophies at the New Zealand Rugby awards night on Thursday, picking up the Mitre 10 Cup and Age Grade player of the year gongs.

The awards cap a dizzying ascent for Barrett, who used a stand-out provincial campaign with Canterbury to catapult himself into an All Blacks apprenticeship.

Barrett nabbed five tries and made 25 offloads as Canterbury coasted to their eighth title in nine seasons, and claimed the Ranfurly Shield to boot.

Before that, he'd scored 52 points for New Zealand under-20s as they finished this year's World Championships in Manchester in fifth place.

"Didn't expect the year to unfold the way it did, I just started playing club rugby in Lincoln, so pretty proud of the way things panned out," Barrett said.

"I have to pinch myself a bit, I'm pretty lucky."

Joining the All Blacks on their northern tour, Barrett watched on as the side fell to the Irish in Chicago before beating Italy, Ireland and France on European soil.

He said the intensity at Test level was like nothing he'd encountered, even on the training field, and was glad to have brothers Beauden and Scott nearby.

He'll now look to use his apprenticeship as a springboard into a strong debut Super Rugby campaign alongside Beauden at the Hurricanes.

"My aim was just to not be overwhelmed by it all, and it was tough at first but it certainly helped having a couple of brothers over there," Barrett said.

"It's just another level and about individually nailing your preparation."

Beauden, who won both player of the year and Super Rugby player of the year, was chuffed for his brother.

He was looking forward to lining up alongside him for the Hurricanes in 2017, having not played together since their childhoods on a Taranaki dairy farm.

"I encouraged him to come home, he didn't need a lot of encouragement, it's pretty exciting for him and I, and the family," Beauden said.

"He'll keep me fresh for many more seasons to come."

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