All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says it was the ‘right time’ to start both Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga in the same backline.
For some time now, Barrett has been the standout first-choice flyhalf for the All Blacks, with Mo’unga serving as his understudy. However, the latter has been in such good form for the Crusaders over the last two years, heightening calls for Hansen to give him a Test start at pivot.
Ahead of this Saturday’s highly anticipated clash with the Boks, Hansen has duly decided to experiment with Mo’unga at 10, while Barrett shifts to fullback.
‘It’s probably time. We’ve got a plan with a whole lot of things we want to do before we get to the nitty-gritty business [of the World Cup] and we felt Saturday’s game was the right time to try that part of the plan,’ he commented.
‘Obviously to replace Beauden at first-five [flyhalf] you’ve got to have someone who’s pretty good and Richie’s been playing very well for the last couple of years. At some point you want all your good players on the park. Both of them are world class.
‘I didn’t ask his opinion, no. I know he can play fullback and he knows it too. I said “You’re playing fullback” and he said “Yep, no worries”. That’s about how it went.’
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