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2019 Rugby World Cup: All Blacks star Beauden Barrett reveals he's been battling leg injury at the tournament

From the outside looking in it seems Beauden Barrett is playing some of the best rugby of his career. No one would suspect he couldn't run at full tilt but the All Blacks playmaker has revealed exactly that – a niggly injury is hindering his top-end pace at the World Cup.

In his two matches thus far in Japan, Barrett, a two-time World Rugby player of the year, has starred from fullback for the All Blacks.

In the opening victory over the Springboks, he hit the line to burst through and set up George Bridge's try.

The following week, Barrett scored from a Sonny Bill Williams grubber and was heavily involved in many other sweeping attacking moves from the back.

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Notably, in that 63-0 win over Canada at Oita, Barrett was down for one of the first times in his career after breaking through, losing the ball in humid conditions to attempt a blow near the end of the match.

He then ran out of water and watched proudly as younger brother Jordie nailed his debut Test debut at Namibia's first five-eighth.

As the All Blacks prepare for their final pool match against Italy at Toyota Stadium this weekend, where he is expected to return to fullback, Barrett has issued an ominous warning that there is more to come from a speeding perspective.

"Mentally I'm feeling great," Barrett told the Herald in Tokyo. "Physically not quite there but I've been working hard on getting my body right and where I'd like it to be.

"I've been battling with a lower leg issue, a bit of a niggle, for a month now. It's been a frustration but it's starting to feel really good."

While reluctant to specify the exact nature of the injury, Barrett is confident it will soon heal.

"I want to keep it pretty general at this point. I don't want to make it an excuse. I'm quite positive about it but it's been frustrating at times where I'd like to open up and it's been hindering that.

"Today it's been great and trusting the medical team is doing a great job. I'm sure if they didn't think it was right they wouldn't have me out there."

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Barrett opening up more and adding another couple of clicks to his top-end pace is not what opposition defenses wanted to hear.

When he puts his foot down and goes for any half gap, more often than not he breaks the line or creates opportunities for others. Soon it may be more difficult to contain.

Six tests into their budding partnership, Barrett's combination with Richie Mo'unga is starting to gel as the All Blacks envisioned, the dual playmakers proving equally lethal threats on either side of the field.

Barrett appears to be thriving with the extra time, space and freedom the fullback plays while Mo'unga continues to grow in confidence as he pulls the strings in the No 10 jersey.

"I'm certainly enjoying the role and everything is going fine from that point of view," Barrett said. "I'm just chipping away at a couple of things.

"Richie and I have been talking about ways to figure out how to play so we're not in each other's pocket and finding our own space. Whether we go ahead with that plan or not it's something we're conscious of and really looking forward to to work on. "

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