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Crusaders first five Richie Mo’unga looks to take his team to back-to-back Super Ruby championships at AMI Stadium on Saturday, 4 August.
Mo’unga has had lots of success with the Crusaders, winning 24 out of the last 25 games he has played for the Christchurch side, but after a successful season knocking off the powerhouse Hurricanes 30-12 in the semi-final led by All Blacks experienced flyhalf Beauden Barrett, questions arise whether Mo’unga is the guy for the job in 2018.
Although Chiefs player Damian McKenzie had been the pick to back up Barrett in the June test series, Mo’unga’s impressive form cannot be overlooked.
With Mo’unga’s current form there is a new battle for the number ten jersey between hime Barrett and McKenzie. Regardless of the fact Barrett has been world class and in the lead for the past few years, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen surely has to look at Mo’unga.
After outplaying Barrett and the Hurricanes in their bout at Christchurch, Mo’unga has proved he can hold his weight against other world-class players and the world-class flyhalf of Barrett.
Although Mo’unga played behind a world-class forward pack, his dominant performance allowed the Crusaders to be on the front foot. Statistically he’s scored 11 more points than Barrett having played five games fewer.
It’s no secret that the young flyhalf’s kicking game is world class both off the tee and out of hand. A possible option is for Hansen to use the versatility of Beauden Barrett by dropping him to fullback, thereby opening a spot for Mo’unga.
Mo’unga has shown that his running game can be as impressive as Beauden Barrett’s, with 46 defenders beaten in the season. This has been showcased with 16 clean breaks and four classy tries.
The coming final this weekend will be very important for Mo’unga’s selection. However, regardless of who is chosen, the All Blacks have an abundance of talent to choose from.