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Barrett looks to boost kicking stats

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/10/2016 Angelo Risso

All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett has produced a near-perfect 2016 on the park but admits his goal-kicking needs considerable work.

The energetic first-five has taken the rugby world by storm this year, driving his Hurricanes outfit to a Super Rugby title and taking over the starting No.10 berth for his country.

He has gone on to snare four tries, seven assists and 10 line breaks as the Kiwi side cruised to the Rugby Championship, winning every game with a bonus point.

However the 25-year-old has struggled with the boot, nailing barely 65 per cent of all kicks and less than half of his penalty goal attempts.

Barrett told reporters that he was aware of his poor record and doing all he could to rectify the issue, given New Zealand's lack of viable kicking alternatives in their starting XV.

Of the All Blacks' run-on side against Australia in Saturday's third Bledisloe, only Barrett and winger Israel Dagg took a kick in the Rugby Championship.

"As much as I'd like to make every kick, it's just not possible," Barrett said.

"It's about how I bounce back when I miss and I'm working on that."

Barrett's All Blacks will run out into the Eden Park cauldron on Saturday hoping to secure a Bledisloe clean sweep and record 18th consecutive Test win.

Most punters have backed his side after their barnstorming 42-8 and 29-9 wins over Australia in August, but Barrett saw plenty of reasons to be on red alert.

The Wallabies had improved considerably since the first two Bledisloes, according to the Taranaki native.

"Maybe there were a few cobwebs in that first Test, but there was a noticeable improvement in the second," Barrett said.

"We're on edge and ready to go, we're aware of what's up for grabs."

Earlier in the week, Wallabies defensive coach Nathan Grey pinpointed Barrett as the man to stop if Australia were to claim a shock win.

The Wallabies have not won at Eden Park for 30 years, or on Kiwi soil since 2001.

"He steers them around exceptionally well," Grey said.

"He's got a lot of positive attributes - great speed, good decision-making and he can hurt you if you make errors."

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