While the Crusaders fly-half never got the backline firing on all cylinders in Wellington on Saturday, it was an uncharacteristically error-strewn performance by Steve Hansen’s men, littered with handling errors.
The All Blacks were not at their free-flowing best with Mo’unga at the helm, but equally Barrett was able to have some success in the wider channels, and showed his pace in setting up Jack Goodhue’s try. While some fans have been quick to lambast this experiment by Hansen, it is certainly worth trying again before the World Cup starts.
However, one element of the game that fans have questioned was the choice of goalkicker. Many speculated that Mo’unga was brought in at 10 to relieve Barrett of the kicking duties, so fans on Twitter were left surprised when the Hurricanes fly-half stepped up to take the first kick of the game.
Barrett went on to take the next three attempts at goal, missing his third, before Mo’unga took over in the latter stages of the game. This choice did not sit well with the fans, who clearly feel that Mo’unga is the better kicker.
This is what was said:
— Sewing machine in Afrikaans (@AakiefSalie) July 27, 2019
Barrett has struggled to shake off the reputation of being an unreliable goalkicker amongst the New Zealand public. This stems from a couple of poor kicking performances in the past that proved costly.
The third and decisive test in the 2017 British and Irish Lions series saw the two-time World Player of the Year have a 50% success rate with his attempts at goal, and he was not much better in the second test. Last season he missed a crucial conversion against the Springboks as the All Blacks lost in Wellington. These are fleeting incidents, but they seem to be etched in the public’s minds.
In fact, over the course of the Super Rugby season, Barrett actually had a better kicking percentage than Mo’unga, but it seems the fans need more convincing than that. With Mo’unga finishing the game as the goalkicker, that may be the way forward if these two are to start together again, which is clearly what the fans wanted from the start.
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