Mo'unga drum beating lunacy

Richie Mo'unga has become increasingly pivotal to the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images
Richie Mo'unga has become increasingly pivotal to the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images
Good thing Steve Hansen does not listen to talkback radio. Or imported one-eyed coaches.

The All Black side he has come up with to take on the Wallabies tomorrow night for the opening Bledisloe Cup match is the best possible side the coach could have picked.

No matter what the blinkered mob up the road say.

This whole Richie Mo'unga drum beating has just got completely out of hand. Some of the stuff coming out of red and black land was bordering on madness.

We all know the Crusaders first five-eighth had a good Super Rugby campaign.

He worked his way into some outstanding form and was one of the best as the Crusaders marched their way to another title.

But those calls to put him into the All Black No10 jersey at the expense of Beauden Barrett - well, sorry, lunacy really.

It would be like giving the dux title to the schoolboy who was top in the junior exam. He was good at his level. But there are others who have performed at a higher level.

Games at the top tier are completely different from what is presented at the next step down.

It is far higher intensity and is a very different cousin to Super Rugby.

Barrett, time and again, has proved himself to be top notch at the white-hot intensity of test level.

Maybe he was not as his best for the Hurricanes but isn't he the world player of the year two years in a row?

By that definition, he should be the first player picked in any team in the world.

Mo'unga is not even the second-best first five-eighth in the country.

Damian McKenzie is coming off a test in which he bagged 24 points and was also named Super Rugby Player of the Year. How do you leave a guy out after a performance like that?

Then there was some thinking by some clever clogs up the highway to put Barrett back to fullback to accommodate Mo'unga in the No10 jersey.

So Ben Smith gets dumped to accommodate the world player of the year who in turn is out of position because a guy, who has played one test, has to play? Apparently his form is that good. Justifiably, it does not stake up.

Thankfully, Hansen did not buy into the hype.

He knows he can lean on Barrett and the Taranaki man will come to the party.

So it is good to have one Barrett there but talk to get another one from the same family on the pitch has also thankfully been laid to rest.

The talk about Jordie Barrett went from fact to fiction in the past few months.

Now young Barrett obviously has some gifts and talent.

But he was very much off form for the Hurricanes in the latter part of the season and his basic play was below that expected of an All Black. There were too many dropped balls, missed and lazy tackles, and poor kicks.

Jordie is only young -21 - and will come again but at the moment he just needs to work on his game.

Ben Smith has never done anything wrong in the black jersey. Long may he stay there.

He has the runs on the board. Others are barely out of the pavilion.

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