The Rugby Championship

'I'm a stiff bloke!" - Yoga helps Barrett replace Carter for All Blacks

Beauden Barrett has credited yoga and Pilates for helping him ascend to the All Blacks' side as Dan Carter's fly-half replacement.

Barrett led the Hurricanes to glory in the Super Rugby final, posting 15 points in a dominant 20-3 victory over the Lions.

That impressive performance led many to say that he should be promoted to the All Blacks starting XV, ahead of rival for the number 10 jersey Aaron Cruden, with New Zealand starting their Rugby Championship campaign against the Wallabies on Saturday.

Barrett's 40th All Black appearance will indeed come at fly-half, with an improved physical and mental approach key to his impressive form.

"I'm always looking to grow my game, I've still got a lot of growth to do," he said.

"Key thing is I'm just enjoying my footy at the moment and that means I'm playing better rugby... I'm just in a better headspace.

"There are other physical things, but if you get your head right - your approach to the game - that right balance is crucial.

"Been working on my flexibility, it's been vital for me. I'm quite a stiff bloke!

"Extra sessions here and there have certainly helped. Yoga and Pilates, it's been great.

"It's more of a recovery thing for me. It's great for the mind as well as the body, it's just getting that right balance and I've seen great benefits from that.

Filling Carter's boots could be daunting for the 25-year-old, but excitement is the overriding emotion.

"It's huge," Barrett added. "Don't get me wrong I always aspired to wear the number 10 jersey.

"In the past it's been coming off the bench, which I've been happy to do, it was my role in the team. Now it's an opportunity to play well and put my hand up.

"I'm really excited about it, Saturday night can't come quick enough but I don't want to play too soon."

Barrett was a stand-out player in Super Rugby this season, but is under no illusions that he is stepping up another level now.

He explained: "Everything's that much quicker, obviously the opposition's a bit smarter. There are loads of things.

"We're lucky in this team at Test level. You just have to focus on your job, you don't have to carry anyone around you. We have great trust in each other so I'll just be focusing on my role."