Welsh Regions Reminded Of Task Ahead As Leinster Sign Jordie Barrett

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 30: Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes kicks for goal during the round six Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlanders and Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium, on March 30, 2024, in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Welsh Regions Reminded Of Task Ahead As Leinster Sign Jordie Barrett

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By Paul Jones

Welsh regions hoping to assemble squads to become competitive with the best in the United Rugby Championship have been given a sobering reminder of the size of that task after Leinster announced the capture of All Blacks star, Jordie Barrett.

The New Zealand international – one of the best back line players in the world – will move to Dublin on a short-term deal from next season.

Two decades ago, it was Welsh teams who were signing All Blacks superstars such as Justin Marshall and Jerry Collins, but those days are long gone.

These days, only the Irish provinces have such pulling power.

In agreeing a new contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union that will run beyond the 2027 World Cup, Barrett has also exercised an option to play overseas.

The 27-year-old will move to Leinster – who have already announced the signing of Springbok second row RG Snyman from Munster – in December and remain there until the end of next term.

Barrett, who has won 57 caps and offers options at centre, full-back and fly-half, has family connections with Leinster and County Meath, spending more than a year there in the early 2000s when his family relocated.

Barrett, whose brothers Beauden and Scott are also All Blacks, said: “Ireland is a special place for the Barrett family. We’ve got so many great family connections in Oldcastle, in County Meath and throughout Dublin.

“To have an opportunity to go back and meet some family and friends and connections that were made 20 years ago is pretty cool.”

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said: “We are delighted that Jordie has agreed to join us after New Zealand’s tour in early December, especially as he has chosen Leinster ahead of a number of other very attractive options.

“Jordie is a 50-plus cap All Black with an outstanding skill-set who has been performing at the highest level of the game for multiple seasons now.”

Barrett has been in excellent form this season for the Hurricanes, who top Super Rugby Pacific with seven wins from seven.

The news came on the same day as Welsh rugby at least managed to hold onto a rising young star.

Morgan Morse has become the latest Wales U20 star to put pen to paper on a new deal at one of the Welsh regions after he pledged his immediate future to the Ospreys.

Still only 19, and looking forward to a second World Rugby Junior Championship campaign in South Africa this summer, the powerful back row man has regularly fitted into the BKT United Rugby Championship and EPCR Challenge Cup teams with the Ospreys this season.

A product of the Ospreys development pathway, Cwmtwrch RFC and Ysgol Ystalyfera, Morse made his debut for the team in the Ospreys win over the Sharks in November. He has gone on to make 10 senior team appearances and picked up two tries, one of which was a crucial interception score in the historic win over the Lions at Ellis Park.

He made his Wales U20 debut a after his 17th birthday and scored on his debut as a second half replacement against Scotland. He has now earned 19 caps at U20 level and also captained Wales U18.

Recent Wales U20 teammates such as Dan Edwards and Lewis Lloyd, at the Ospreys, Joe Westwood, Harri Ackerman and Ryan Woodman at the Dragons and new senior Welsh internationals Mackenzie Martin and Cam Winnett at Cardiff.

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