Mon 26 Dec 2022 | 10:16

Richie Mo'unga joins the All Blacks exodus

Richie Mo'unga joins the All Blacks exodus
Mon 26 Dec 2022 | 10:16
Richie Mo'unga joins the All Blacks exodus
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TRANSFER NEWS: Playmaker Richie Mo’unga and Shannon Frizell have become the latest All Blacks stars to head to Japan.

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Mo’unga has signed a three-year deal with Japanese side Toshiba Brave Lupus.

Mo’unga will leave the Crusaders after nine seasons and with more than 1000 points. The 28-year-old has taken the field in the jersey 94 times, with his 100th appearance expected during his final season.

He will be missed by the All Blacks supporters as his skilled general play and accurate goalkicking have seen him overtake Beauden Barrett as the All Blacks’ first-choice flyhalf, tallying 370 points in 44 Tests since his debut in 2018.

Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said Mo’unga was “a special man”.

“If there’s one player that continues to leave their mark on this team, that’d be Richie Mo’unga,” Robertson said.

“Through his performances in the biggest games, the biggest moments – he stood up, which Crusaders do. He’s a special man, a local boy, pride of the community, and there’s no doubt about it – Richie can play.

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“When Richie is on, the team is on. He brings out the best from all the players. For me, he is one of the most influential Super Rugby players ever – how he plays the game, his ability to score points consistently year after year in those crucial moments.

“The biggest thing for me with Richie is how much he cares about the team and the club, about the players he plays with and the people he plays for. He means a lot to the Crusaders and we wish him all the best. There’ll be a time to properly say goodbye to him at the end of the season, but for now we’re all focused on the job in front of us.”

“The Crusaders have been my life for ever, even before I joined the team it was my life, dreaming of being part of the family,” Mo’unga said.

“Looking back at my time with the team since 2015, it makes me so grateful to be part of such a franchise, part of some really awesome memories, some great achievements and great moments, and to just meet some really special people.

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“My energy going into this season is no different to any other, I’m here to give my everything. I still want to perform, to do the best for the Crusaders, our members and our fans. There’s still a heck of a job to do before I leave.”

Frizell will also join the same club.

Abrasive Tongan-born flank Frizell has played 25 Tests since his 2018 debut, the same year he made his Super Rugby start with the Highlanders.

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