Mo'unga backed to match or outplay Beauden Barrett again as Canes and Crusaders prepare for semi showdown

Richie Mo'unga can once again match, if not outplay, his All Blacks rival Beauden Barrett in this weekend’s Super Rugby semi-final, according to Crusaders assistant Ronan O’Gara.

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Mo'unga will be full of confidence after scoring 23 points against the Highlanders, the Crusaders assistant coach says. Source: 1 NEWS

The clash between the Crusaders and Highlanders in Christchurch is being billed as a battle between the two first-fives with the former Ireland star saying Mo'unga will be full of confidence after scoring 23 points in the win over the highlanders.

"We have Richie who’s been on top of his game for a long time and looking to de-throne Beaudy, but Beaudy has the advantage that he's a superstar at test level, but I think Richie can get to that space too, it makes for an exciting game,” O’Gara said.

The stats certainly favour Mo'unga, with the Crusaders winning four of the last five games when both players have started.

"I’ll be a big admirer of Beauden Barrett, I have been for a long time, fantastic player, he’s a competitor, so is TJ Perenara."

O’Gara said the Crusaders’ hopes of shutting down Barrett rested with the pack winning the battle up front.

"When the ball is in Beauden Barrett’s hands it’s not a good sign for any opposition," O’Gara said.