Legendary first-five eighth Dan Carter has given his opinion on the fiery debate around the All Blacks No. 10 jersey.
Carter, arguably New Zealand’s finest to wear the jersey now donned by Beauden Barrett stood by the incumbent.
“He’s [Barrett] still the number one 10, but to have the competition with Richie [Mo’unga] there, and when the time is right in certain games for Beaudy to go to the back and Richie come on and add another string to the backline, it’s a really fortunate position the coaches have got with quality players to be able to bring on as replacements and add a little bit to the game when needed,” Carter told Newstalk ZB. “It’s the kind of depth and competition you want in a squad.”
Last weekend against the Springboks 24-year-old Mo’unga came off the bench to kick the game-winning conversion while Barrett shifted to fullback.
“For me, Beaudy is still the leader in that All Blacks side and what he’s achieved in the last three or four years has been incredible,” Carter continued.
“To be the number one player in the world the last couple of seasons, he’s been great on occasions this year.”
“I think he’s really trying to push himself in that leadership role. He’s a key part of the All Blacks side.”
36-year-old Carter, currently playing for the Kobelco Steelers in the Japanese Top League, said he is enjoying watching fellow Crusader Mo’unga develop.
“I’m extremely proud of Richie and the way he’s progressed over the last couple of years. I worked with him down at the Crusaders and he’s got such a clear head. He doesn’t let pressure get to him as we saw in the weekend.
“The fact he’s putting Beaudy under a lot of pressure is great,” Carter said.
Barrett and Mo’unga will have their next chance to play when the All Blacks take on Australia in the third Bledisloe Test later this month.
Carter’s Steelers are currently atop their conference in the Top League with a record of four wins and one loss.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.