Sat 28 May 2022 | 10:10

All Blacks star Mo’unga makes World Cup decision

All Blacks star Mo’unga makes World Cup decision
Sat 28 May 2022 | 10:10
All Blacks star Mo’unga makes World Cup decision
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NEWS: All Blacks star Richie Mo’unga has recommitted to New Zealand Rugby [NZR] for another year as he targets a place at next year’s World Cup in France.

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Mo’unga announced on live television on Friday that he has signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him with the All Blacks, Crusaders and Canterbury in 2023.

“Some good news, for me and my family, that we’ve re-signed for next year’s season in 2023,” the newly-turned 28-year-old told Sky Sport ahead of the Crusaders’ 28-15 Super Rugby Pacific win over the Reds in Christchurch.

Mo’unga was absent from that match as he dealt with a rib injury, but was confident that he will “good to go” for next week’s quarterfinal match against the Reds.

“For me, I think it’s really important I just look after myself, keep myself in the best shape possible so I can be in the conversation for quarterfinals next week.”

NZR’s retention of Mo’unga adds to their long list of All Blacks who have signed on until next year’s World Cup, where Mo’unga is expected to partner Beauden Barrett as New Zealand’s flyhalf options.

Since his first-class debut for Canterbury as a teenager in 2013, Mo’unga has become a key figure in the New Zealand rugby landscape.

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A five-time Super Rugby title-winner with the Crusaders, who he debuted for in 2016, Mo’unga has been crucial in the recent success of the Christchurch-based franchise.

That much is reflected by his status as a three-time Super Rugby Player of the Year award-winner, a feat that helped him become an All Black in 2017.

After an international debut against a French XV in Lyon five years ago, Mo’unga made his Test debut against France in Dunedin in 2018, and has gone on to play 32 tests for the All Blacks.

During that time, he was New Zealand’s starting first-five at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, and has notched more than 50 appearances for Canterbury – with whom he has won four NPC titles – as he narrows in on his 100th match for the Crusaders.

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By Alex McLeod, @RugbyPass

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