What to do with Mo'unga?
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: There has been a lot of debate in New Zealand about whether Richie Mo’unga should take over the No.10 spot from Beauden Barrett.
Mo’unga put in some stellar performances to guide the Crusaders to a second successive Super Rugby title, sealed with a 37-18 victory over the Lions on Saturday.
Barrett was slightly below his best during the 2018 campaign, which was ended by the eventual champions at the semifinal stage, prompting calls for Mo’unga to be given a starting berth in the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Crusaders assistant backs coach Ronan O’Gara hinted at the idea of moving Barrett to fullback to allow Mo’unga to start at No.10 in Test matches.
There is also the option of moving Mo’unga to the No.15 spot. However, the All Blacks already have the likes of Ben Smith, Jordie Barrett and Damian McKenzie who can fill that role.
“There is a lot of excitement coming out here [in Christchurch] about what has happened at the Crusaders and it is great,” All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster told stuff.co.nz.
“But we have got a few plans … I think he [Mo’unga] is a 10, but as a 10 you play a lot at 15 nowadays anyway. And I think we have seen that with Damian, we have seen that with Beaudie.”
Foster added: “Some parts of the game are interchangeable. If you can deal with the high ball and counter-attack, you can play 15 and that is what he [Mo’unga] did.
So, I think you can do both, regardless of the jersey, personally.”
Meanwhile, All Black legend Daniel Carter believes Beauden Barrett has done enough throughout his career to hold onto his No.10 jersey ahead of the in-form Mo’unga.
“It’s obviously hotly debated at the moment and credit to Richie Mo’unga for putting his hand up over a fantastic season,” Carter told the New Zealand Herald.
“It’s hard to go past what Beauden’s achieved over the last couple of years. A lot of the All Blacks’ success has come because of his performances. He’s a leader of the team now.
“I’ve been in that position with young guys nipping at your heels. It makes you work harder and appreciate your position in the team more.
“It’s great there’s competition. Damian [McKenzie, of the Chiefs] is not a bad talent as well. It’s great the All Blacks have such depth.”
Source: stuff.co.nz, New Zealand Herald and RugbyPass
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