Crusaders first-five Richie Mo’unga has sent fans into raptures on social media with a sensational outing during his side’s 45-13 thrashing of the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday.
Mo’unga was again in sublime form for the reigning back-to-back Super Rugby champions, scoring two tries, assisting a third, running for 98 metres and beating four defenders from two clean breaks, and converting five from six kicks at goal.
His running game was a particular highlight, with the second of his two tries coming from a clean break after a taking the ball to the line and fooling the opposition defence with a dummy on the Bulls’ 10 metre mark.
A wicked step past the flailing defensive effort of Cornal Hendricks on the 22 metre mark was enough to see him score under the posts, despite a late tackle attempt from Divan Rossouw.
Mo’unga’s kicking ability was also lauded by fans online, with the 24-year-old completing two pinpoint cross kicks in consecutive phases to assist the third of Sevu Reece’s tries.
So good was his form in his side’s win that many took to Twitter to express their admiration for the nine-test All Black’s performance, with some suggesting that he deserves the starting first-five jersey over the incumbent and two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett.
#BulvCru Richie Mo'unga emphasizing his quality as the best first five eighth/flyhalf in the world with an excellent performance against the Bulls.
— steve (@honesttruth08) May 10, 2019
Richie Mo’unga has the ball on a god damn string! Are you kidding me with those two cross field kicks???? How is this guy not your ABs starting 10 at this stage. Especially with the outside backs equation, surely BB goes to fullback. #BULvCRU
— Louis Herman-Watt (@LouisHWatt) May 10, 2019
Richie Mo'unga is brilliant. There's no arguing against that fact. #BULvCRU
— Emily (@TheEmilyM) May 10, 2019
— Amos (@amos_boltman) May 10, 2019
— alex (@popcorntrolley) May 10, 2019
Mo’unga wasn’t the only player that impressed onlookers from that clash, with hat-trick hero Reece enhancing his credentials as a potential bolter in the All Blacks’ World Cup squad with another standout display on the right wing.
The 22-year-old’s three tries means his personal tally of tries this season stands at nine, elevating him to second in this season’s Super Rugby try-scoring charts, trailing only Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga’a, who has 10.
— Stephan (@mossie90) May 10, 2019
— Qlemy Makanya (@NjaNja_herdboy) May 10, 2019
— Christopher Logan (@CLCourtney82) May 10, 2019
Sevu Reece what a lad!!! #BULvCRU
— Just Add Water (@KoppeStamp06) May 10, 2019
— Jabba The Huttz (@jabba_the_hutts) May 10, 2019
The victory keeps the Crusaders at the summit of the Super Rugby standings with 47 points from 12 matches, seven points clear of the next closest team, the Hurricanes.
Meanwhile, the Bulls remain at the top of the South African conference and sit in third spot on the overall table with 28 points, but could be overtaken by the Sharks and/or Jaguares in their conference should either or both sides secure victory this weekend.
The Short Ball:
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