The Blues are trying hard to lure All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett to lead their backline next year.
It is understood that John Kirwan, who was unsuccessful in signing Barrett last year, remains extremely keen to secure the services of the first-five, who starred for the Hurricanes during their 16-9 victory over the Crusaders in Wellington on Saturday.
If Barrett moves north, then Ihaia West, who has impressed during his short stint under Kirwan, will almost certainly move to the Hurricanes.
Barrett, who is third in the All Blacks’ pecking order behind Dan Carter and Aaron Cruden, has the experience and talent to dramatically increase the Blues’ chances of winning next year’s competition.
His improvement over the past 12 months is such that he is closing the gap on Cruden at the All Blacks, but his value as an impact player means he has started only two of his 19 tests, and those were at fullback.
First-five has long been a problem position for the Blues, who have ruled out one last approach for Carter, who recently bought a house in Remuera but remains wedded to the Crusaders.
Their experiment with former Kiwis captain Benji Marshall this year ended in failure and a quick return to the NRL for the 28-year-old.
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