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'Banished any doubts with this masterclass' - Richie Mo'unga turns heads with nearly perfect performance in Bledisloe III

By Online Editors
Beauden Barrett of the All Blacks celebrates as Richie Mo'unga of the All Blacks runs in to score his second try during the 2020 Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on October 31, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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After drawing the first test of the year 16-all, the All Blacks have gone from strength to strength, with their most recent outing especially impressive. The New Zealanders outclassed the Wallabies in Bledisloe III in Sydney, winning 43-5 in a record-breaking performance.


Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga was central to the visitors dominance, guiding his side to a decisive victory with a nearly perfect game.

The 26-year-old scored 23-points at ANZ Stadium, including a six-minute double half-way through the first half. Mo’unga also came close to scoring what would’ve been his third just before the break but was tripped up by Wallabies fullback Dane Haylett-Petty five metres from the try-line.

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Is the 10-15 dual playmaker system the best way to power the All Blacks’ attack?
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He also had one try assist on the night, sending Jordie Barrett through a gap with just over six minutes left on the clock. Barrett ran the second most metres of any player on Saturday, bettered only by Mo’unga who ran 30 metres more for 101.



Bledisloe III was arguably the coming of age of Mo’unga in a black jersey. Many fans and pundits have said over the past few seasons that he’s been the best flyhalf in New Zealand, winning four-straight Super Rugby titles including Super Rugby Aotearoa.


But he’s been unable to consistently replicate that form in the test arena – certainly not to the level that we saw on Saturday.

All Blacks scrumhalf TJ Perenara said on Sunday morning that he “expected” a performance like that from Mo’unga, after seeing what he’s done for both the Crusaders and at training. He added that while watching the flyhalf’s performance, that he couldn’t help but think “man, that’s a bad man out there.”

Mo’unga’s showing of skill, patience and class definitely turned heads, with fans on Twitter singing the praises of the All Blacks pivot.



Mo’unga’s Player of the Match performance also reignites the debate surrounding the dual playmaker strategy that the All Blacks have adopted.

Beauden Barrett, who won two World Rugby Player of the Year titles at flyhalf, was switched to fullback in an effort to accommodate Mo’unga in the All Blacks starting side.

Barrett was phenomenal in Bledisloe II, but was kept quiet two weeks later in Sydney, held to just 15 run metres. The two did link up for Mo’unga’s second try though, with Barrett placing a nicely weighted chip kick in behind the Wallabies defensive line for his flyhalf to chase.

Mo’unga stepped up and controlled the All Blacks attack while the hosts managed Barrett, which as fans on Twitter have suggested, bodes well for the future of the tactic.

The All Blacks take on the Wallabies for the fourth and final time this year in Brisbane this Saturday, with the Bledisloe Cup already locked up.

The clash will also serve as the second Tri Nations fixture, with that silverware still up for grabs. Both teams are set to face Argentina in the weeks following Bledisloe IV.



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