Development News Edition
Give Feedback

Man of moment Mo'unga no guarantee of All Blacks start

Hansen also played down the Mo'unga hype, warning pundits and one-eyed Cantabrians not to get too excited until the player was truly tested.


Reuters Last Updated at 05 Aug 2018, 09:08 IST United States
Man of moment Mo'unga no guarantee of All Blacks start
  • Hansen also played down the Mo'unga hype, warning pundits and one-eyed Cantabrians not to get too excited until the player was truly tested. (Image credit: Twitter)

Canterbury Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo'unga's man-of-the-match performance in the Super Rugby final will add fuel to the debate as to whether he can supplant Beauden Barrett for the All Blacks' starting role.

Mo'unga was instrumental for the Crusaders as they beat South Africa's Lions 37-18 in Christchurch on Saturday to successfully defend their title and grab a ninth overall.

While the win was built on defense, 24-year-old Mo'unga ensured the scoreboard ticked over to build pressure on the visitors, who dominated possession and territory.

He was flawless off the tee with three penalties and four conversions, challenged the defense with his running and passing, and made the right tactical decisions after a shaky start.

Such was the assuredness of his performance it was hard to remember that he had played just 10 minutes off the bench in one test against France last month, while his Lions counterpart Elton Jantjies had made 26 appearances for the Springboks.

It was the second successive week Mo'unga had outplayed an international flyhalf. Pundits raved about how he had made two-times World Player of the Year Barrett looks second best in the semi-final last week.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson was effusive about Mo'unga's performance in the final but felt his attacking and tactical attributes were not what made him stand out.

"What I like about Richie is that he is brave on defense," Robertson told reporters. "That is the biggest part of his game.

"He had great feet and great hands and could kick clutch penalties and conversions.

"Now he is brave on D (defense), you have to have the whole skill set to play test rugby and he showed he could do that."

Mo'unga, who missed two months this year after having surgery on a broken jaw, is almost certain to be named in Steve Hansen's Rugby Championship squad on Monday, with Barrett and utility back Damian McKenzie as the other flyhalf options.

Despite being compared to All Blacks great Dan Carter by both Robertson and former Crusaders assistant coach Leon MacDonald, it remains unlikely he will dislodge Barrett from the number 10 jersey just yet.

Barrett, after all, has played 64 tests for the All Blacks, half of which have been as the starting flyhalf. He won his two Player of the Year awards since succeeding Carter after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Hansen also played down the Mo'unga hype, warning pundits and one-eyed Cantabrians not to get too excited until the player was truly tested.

"He's playing behind a Rolls Royce pack," said Hansen.

"He's playing the way we're expecting him to play behind a pack like that.

"It's going to be really interesting to see how he does in a big game."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


add banner

LEAVE COMMENT

Download our Android App on Google Play