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Barrett itching to get back with Hurricanes

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Lynn McConnell     20 Feb 2019     Getty Images

Barrett said he was able to have extended leave because it had been negotiated three years ago when signing his contract and it proved timely. He hadn't known he would be getting married at that time but he was excited about being able to play for the Hurricanes again.

The Rugby World Cup was at the back of everyone's mind but Barrett felt it was a big year for rugby in general with a lot of talk also about Super Rugby.

"I think it's exciting, it's a great time to be in the game and I'm just really buzzing about being back in this environment," he said.

Barrett said the most refreshing part of his break had been the release of mental pressure and being able to switch off from the game.

"Waking up and not having anything planned is quite a big change," he said.

Regarding his return to playing he said he and coach John Plumtree were working through that at the moment and they would go through the right processes.

He said having come back and seeing how fit the squad was looking he felt the best team available was playing at the moment and he was just wanting to get back with them and training well.

There was a feeling of newness having been away while the rest of the squad was preparing but that was also exciting and he admitted to having itchy feet watching the side get ready from a distance.

The Crusaders had been very good at home in recent times but going down at this time of the season when the ball was a little drier it was potentially easier to play in Christchurch. When it came to the playoffs it was a different sort of game and different style of play,

"Our boys will be really excited and confident to go down there and play well. We just need to focus on ourselves and obviously respect they are the back-to-back champions and it will be a great game of footy," he said.

Assistant coach Carlos Spencer said the side would have to go to Christchurch for Saturday's game to give it everything and with a mindset of getting stuck in.

The side will be without James Marshall who was to be scanned after an injury suffered against the Waratahs. Meanwhile, Spencer felt Fletcher Smith had played well at the weekend although the lack of ball at the start of the game and the discipline issues the Hurricanes faced meant he wasn't able to work on the back of the team's momentum.

"As he got into the game I thought his confidence grew," he said.

But the discipline issue had come up during the pre-season and they had talked about it. They were going to have to be very disciplined this week against a very good Crusaders side who, with Richie Mo'unga back, they had a kicker who could knock goals over from anywhere.

"We don't want to give them cheap points, or momentum, just through lack of discipline," he said.