All Blacks star Beauden Barrett's chances of playing this week's Super Rugby final for the Blues are slim to none but that's not stopping teammate Rieko Ioane from teasing there's still hope.
"Big news coming soon, eh?" Ioane joked to media after being questioned about Barrett's appearance at Blues training today.
"Just wait for team naming!"
Fresh out of managed isolation after returning from his rugby sabbatical in Japan, Barrett was spotted at today’s training with the Auckland Super Rugby franchise.
Barrett missed the Blues’ entire season to date after playing a season for Top League club Suntory Sungoliath, who were beaten in the final by Panasonic.
Unfortunately for Barrett, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to redeem that loss this Saturday against the Highlanders, with his announcement about the Japan break last July stating he’d miss the Blues’ entire season before returning for the All Blacks.
Ioane said, in a more serious tone, it was great to have Barrett back in the team environment regardless.
"He brings his experience and helps out our younger halves," Ioane said.
"It's good to have that experience, especially finals experience since he's been in a couple of big finals, so it's going to be good to have him around."
The Blues are chasing their first title since 2003 in Saturday's final against the Highlanders at Eden Park.