Richie Mo’unga is one of the best No 10s on the planet, is respected and admired but, as Campbell Burnes writes, not universally, and that is not entirely his fault (pages 10-14).
At some point, Richie Mo’unga will be judged as a great international-class No 10 as opposed to a player who is unreal at Super Rugby level and then inconsistent at the highest level.
He should have almost universal approbation by now, having been the best player in Super Rugby for three of the last four years, and having matured as an All Black in the last two seasons, where he is starting to run the cutter with increasing authority.
Beauden Barrett has his fans, and indeed his rugby in that 2016-18 period often featured play of coruscating brilliance, his pace and ability to break on the outside a huge bonus for a first five. But this article is not seeking to draw endless comparisons between Mo’unga and Barrett. That debate has been done to death. Suffice to say the All Blacks have two prime options for their backline general. This piece is about how good Mo’unga is and how good he could be.
The respect that he deserves may gain traction this month in the north, where the critics are more numerous and often hard-bitten, cynical about the All Blacks and how they play the game.
Continue this story in our November issue.