It was about rugby, not me. That's the message from new Blues recruit Beauden Barrett after his debut victory against the Hurricanes at Eden Park yesterday afternoon.
Moving north from the Hurricanes in 2020, Barrett's debut came as New Zealand welcomed the return of rugby, and sport on the whole, following the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Initially allowed an extended break from Super Rugby due to his All Blacks workload, Barrett's Blues debut was another event to be pushed back due to Covid-19.
However, fate would dictate that Barrett's first appearance in a Blues jersey just so happened to be against his former side, the Hurricanes. That narrative dominated the build up as Super Rugby Aotearoa signalled the return of professional sport in New Zealand.
Speaking after the Blues' 30-20 victory in front of a packed Eden Park. though, Barrett was very eager to point out that the significance of rugby's return more than outweighed any personal storyline between himself and the Hurricanes.
"It was about rugby being back, and everyone coming to support this team," Barrett told media.
"Just a celebration of rugby. It's fantastic to be back playing and to see the support - we're absolutely blown away by the support."
Inevitably, though, there was no escape from the connection between Barrett and the Hurricanes - at one point even inadvertently involved in his former side's celebrations.
Barrett, though, was excited to have finally taken the first step in the next chapter of his career.
"It's been a long time coming.
"I said earlier in the week that I've played this game a million times in my head. It's good to get it done, out of the way.
"Obviously there was that emotional hurdle to get over - playing all my mates - and starting a new chapter in my career as well.
"[I'm] very proud of the start, and the effort from our boys tonight."
Barrett and the Blues will this week travel south to Hamilton, taking on the Chiefs in their second match of Super Rugby Aotearoa.