- Publish Date
- Thursday, 11 August 2022, 12:53PM
eauden Barrett has revealed he feared the worst after landing head first on the turf at Mbombela Stadium after a horror challenge during the All Blacks loss to the Springboks at the weekend.
Barrett jumped to gather in a kick, and was collected around the legs by a fast-charging Kurt-Lee Arendse in the 75th minute of the contest. The contact saw Barrett's body rotate in the air and the All Blacks star could do nothing to avoid landing head first on the turf below.
The Springboks wing was shown a red card for the offense and subsequently suspended for four matches.
In an interview with the team's media manager, Barrett recounted the incident.
"It was quite a big collision and I did think the worst instantly; especially when I was on the ground and - I can't remember who it was - told me to stay still," he said.
"It wasn't until (the doctor) came on and asked me 'can you move your fingers? Your toes?' - I was relieved to have passed those tests. I eventually sat up and was able to walk off and get on with it.
"But there was a fearful period there for a minute or so where you do think of the worst. It's quite scary when you go over backwards and you find yourself come down on your head and shoulders.
"It's part of the game; I understand that. Every time we go up for a high ball we've got to be courageous. Sometimes the chasers don't get it right. They have intentions to get up but find themselves running into the person, which happened in the weekend."
Barrett admitted it was a part of the Springboks game the All Blacks expected the feature heavily, as the South African side like to attack through high, contestable kicks from the boot of Handre Pollard.
They did just that. Arendse scored the opening try of the game in the first half on the back of one of those types of kicks which wasn't defused by the New Zealand side, while the speedy winger was also in a questionable collision with All Blacks fullback Jordie Barrett earlier in the game when the two contested a high ball.
"It's something we expected from South Africa in terms of the high ball collision and contest. I don't think they'll change anything; they'll look to make it a real contest. We'll continue to be courageous and get up; we'll just have to, under the current rules, our escorters have to go a job within the rules to legally stop that chaser from running a good line and allowing that mid-air collision.
"Relief is an understatement."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission
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