Former Irish flyhalf Ronan O’Gara believes Ryan Crotty is a key man for the All Blacks coming into the Rugby World Cup which kicks off on Friday.
The Former Crusaders assistant coach who has worked with Crotty during his time in Christchurch believes he is the perfect fit to play outside either Beauden Barrett or Richie Mo’unga in the number 12 jersey.
"He's a believer in the simple things, someone who places huge value in preparation," O'Gara told The Times.
"Walk through any potential scenario and he'll have a few corkers up his sleeve. He's not the most instinctive player but he is very, very thorough in his preparation.
"Crotty can break your balls as a coach."
Though some may argue Crotty lacks the offload ability and size Sonny Bill Williams' possess O’Gara said Crotty’s tactical awareness is second to none and he will mix perfectly with his first-five.
The Irish Legend hinted that Crotty is a much more rounded player then Williams and believes the All Blacks back line will be more lethal if each backline member had a run, pass and kicking game.
"He has made a huge improvement in his kicking game," O' Gara said.
All Blacks again have the option of playing Williams and Crotty together in the centres, which they highly valued in 2017. At this point Crotty looks to be battling with Williams for the 12 jersey with Anton Linert-Brown and Jack Goodhue contesting for the 13.
The All Blacks will name their team on Thursday to face the Springboks in both sides opening World Cup match on Saturday.