'He'll take it with both hands' - Crusaders' Samu backs Richie Mo'unga over Beauden Barrett for All Blacks first-five berth

Wallabies and Crusaders flanker Pete Samu is backing Richie Mo'unga ahead of Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie to wear the All Blacks' number 10 jersey for the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney next week.

After leading the Crusaders to this year's Super Rugby title, Mo'unga easily stands above the pack as New Zealand's in form first-five, however All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has thrown his support firmly behind current World Rugby Player of the Year, Barrett.

Speaking to Rugby.com.au though, recent Wallabies debutant Samu says that his Crusaders teammate warrants selection at the front of the first-five queue.

"He's been playing some outstanding footy and I think it will be deserving [for] him to be starting in that 10 jersey for that first Test," he said.

Assistant coach Ian Foster said while management sees Mo'unga as a first-five, he also has the skills for fullback. Source: 1 NEWS

"It would be also special to run up against him if I get the chance."

Samu also praised Mo'unga's ability to perform under pressure, exemplified by his man of the match performance in the Super Rugby final against the Lions last week.

"I think when it comes to big games he goes up another couple of levels and he's a real good leader as well. I think put him in any situation and he'll take it with both hands.

Mo'unga has been the shining light in another title winning Crusaders season. Source: 1 NEWS

"He's quite unpredictable, he's got some crazy feet and he's got a good pass on him, maybe if we shut down his time and space we might do alright."

The All Blacks' side to take on the Wallabies in Sydney will be named next week.

The All Blacks coach agrees Mo’unga is a special talent, but says Beauden Barrett has experience over him. Source: 1 NEWS

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Watch: Canterbury forwards claim match-winner after scrum obliterates Counties pack for penalty try

Canterbury earned a tough win over Counties Manukau in the Mitre 10 Cup last night but they were made to work for it.

The Cantabrians claimed a 19-14 win in Pukekohe thanks to a penalty try in the second half, made possible by their forward pack who decimated their opposites in the scrum near the Steelers' line.

It was the sixth loss by seven points or less for Counties Manukau this season.

However, the defending champs will be kicking themselves after they failed to secure a bonus point, meaning they still sit behind second-placed Auckland in the standings despite the latter having a game in hand.

It means Canterbury will be on the road for playoffs with a trip to Nelson or Eden Park most likely.


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Watch the jubilant moment Otago lift the Ranfurly Shield from Waikato

Otago came out of the blocks in lightning fashion to take a 17-0 lead in Hamilton this afternoon, then hung on in the dying minutes, to take the Log O' Wood south to Dunedin.

Trailing 23-19 late in the second half, Waikato made repeated forays to cross for the match-winning try and a staunch Otago defence held strong for a victory that also lifted them into second place in the Mitre Ten Championship, behind Waikato.

Otago last won the Shield in 2013, also here in Hamilton, before suffering Shield defeats in 2014 and 2017.

Waikato had a gilt-edged chance to steal the clash in the dying minutes but, after winning a penalty close to the Otago line, it was reversed when forward Jono Armstrong was ruled to have kicked a player on the ground.


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'I can easily hand over the tee' - Beauden Barrett happy to relinquish goal kicking duties

All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett says he's happy to relinquish goal kicking duties to Richie Mo'unga, after his woes with the boot earlier this season.

After a barren display with the boot against South Africa in Wellington last month, Barrett's kicking had come under heavy fire, before putting in two perfect displays against Argentina and South Africa respectively.

Barrett unselfishly let young Mo'unga take the game winning kick against South Africa. Source: 1 NEWS

However, late in the second half of last week's win over South Africa in Pretoria, Barrett allowed Mo'unga to take up the kicking responsibilities, going on to ace the match winning shot at goal under pressure.

Speaking to Radio Sport, Barrett said that he's happy to allow another kicker to step up, if and when the situation arises.

Barrett converted only two conversions from six in tonight's 36-34 loss to the Springboks. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's something that I learnt in the Wellington test, and something I hadn't done before," Barrett said.

"On occasions where I perhaps may not be feeling good about my kicking I can easily hand over the tee.

The All Blacks' first-five has come under criticism for his performance against the Lions. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's important that everyone's prepared. By all means the number 10 doesn't have to do the job. It could be a front rower. It's something we're pretty fixated with in New Zealand rugby, it doesn't have to be whoever's at flyhalf doing that job.

"So what I'm saying is that it could vary."

The All Blacks first-five's missed efforts proved costly during New Zealand's loss in Wellington. Source: 1 NEWS


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