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‘Think about where I’m at’: Richie Mo’unga considers early All Blacks return

By Finn Morton
Richie Mo'unga. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Former Crusaders first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga has hinted at a potential return to New Zealand’s shores after feeling “a bit of FOMO” after the All Blacks squad was named for their three Tests this month.

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Mo’unga, who played an instrumental role in the Super Rugby giants winning seven titles in as many years under coach Scott Robertson, bid farewell to Aotearoa after last year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

The All Blacks pivot signed a multi-year deal with Toshia Brave Lupus in Japan Rugby League One, and incredibly, led the club to a championship this season. For those keeping score, that’s eight domestic titles in as many years for Mo’unga.

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But with the All Blacks ushering in their new era under coach ‘Razor’ Robertson, Mo’unga has opened up about a potential return to New Zealand. Earlier this year, some questioned whether New Zealand Rugby should change their eligibility criteria to bring Mo’unga back.

It now seems that a potential reunion between Mo’unga and ‘Razor’ could be on the cards in the Test arena as the flyhalf continues to weigh up possibly leaving Japan early to continue his All Blacks career.

“I signed for three years with Toshiba and my intentions were, ‘Yep, I’m going to do the three years’,” Mo’unga said, as reported by Stuff’s Paul Cully.

“Obviously with ‘Razor’ coming along and saying he’d love to have me back home, it’s just given me another opportunity to think about where I’m at with my footy.

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“I obviously had a really successful year in my first year and I’m trying to weigh up the options of what would be best for my family, but also what would be best for my footy as well.

“So, those conversations are still happening and to be honest there’ll be no rush before we all come to a decision.”

What Mo’unga achieved in Super Rugby with the champion Crusaders is legendary. It can’t have been easy to follow in the footsteps of Andrew Mehrtens and Daniel Carter by wearing the Crusaders’ No. 10 jumper, but what he accomplished is unrivalled.

For Mo’unga to then continue that success overseas in Japan is nothing short of incredible. Mo’unga’s Toshia got the better of serial champions Panasonic Wild Knights 24-20 on May 26 to claim their first ‘Top League’ crown since 2009/10.

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But during this time overseas, the allure of the black jersey remained on Mo’unga’s mind. The flyhalf told the New Zealand media outlet that he’s “far from finished with my footy.”

“I am loving my time in Japan. It’s awesome,” Mo’unga explained.

“But then for the All Blacks who have just been named, you get a bit of FOMO and you start to wonder what it would be like if you were in the team playing against England this weekend.

“I feel like I’m in my prime, so having that thought of not being able to play for the best team in your country is really hard to take, but it’s the decision I made heading over to Japan.

“I knew that these are the things that I would have to sacrifice in order to get those experiences with my family and to be refreshed with my footy.

“So, it’s all part of the greater plan.”

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Comments

34 Comments
G
Gihan 15 days ago

please Dont come Enjoy your life in Japan because you earn good wealth in Japan and enjoying your life with family 🩵 All Blacks today onwerds going to play Beutifull rugby ❤️🔥❤️ Its satrs from Defeat England 🖤 players who play now they dont want lot more sllery or money they playing for Thier Mother Country so you can watch How all blacks going to win 2027 word cup with this squad Enjoy that moment so please dont come again good luck for your future 🙏💙🙏

G
Gihan 15 days ago

please Dont come Enjoy your life in Japan because you earn good wealth in Japan and enjoying your life with family 🩵 All Blacks today onwerds going to play Beutifull rugby ❤️🔥❤️ Its satrs from Defeat England 🖤 players who play now they dont want lot more sllery or money they playing for Thier Mother Country so you can watch How all blacks going to win 2027 word cup with this squad Enjoy that moment so please dont come again good luck for your future 🙏💙🙏

G
Gihan 15 days ago

please Dont come Enjoy your life in Japan because you earn good wealth in Japan and enjoying your life with family 🩵 All Blacks today onwerds going to play Beutifull rugby ❤️🔥❤️ Its satrs from Defeat England 🖤 players who play now they dont want lot more sllery or money they playing for Thier Mother Country so you can watch How all blacks going to win 2027 word cup with this squad Enjoy that moment so please dont come again good luck for your future 🙏💙🙏

G
Graham 16 days ago

This would be great . Richie Mo’unga coming back early from Japan. The Crusaders and All Blacks need him badly. The back line lynchpin of 7 title winning Crusaders teams. Razor wants him back. It will happen.

C
Chiefs Mana 16 days ago

Didn’t he leave saying he’s “comfortable to never play ABs again”.

His stance is about as shakey as his goal kicking.

J
Jasyn 16 days ago

Seems to change his tune every few months.

His Japanese contract ends before 2027 anyway, by which time he may be past it. In the meantime NZ can develop some much needed depth there by trying other players.

C
Chesterfield 16 days ago

His record as an All Black is not good enough to warrant the change to the eligibility rules.

G Fox winning percentage 90% average over 10 points per game
DW Carter winning percentage 88% average over 10 points per game
AR Hewson winning percentage 84% average over 10 per game
AW Cruden winning percentage 88%
CJ Spencer winning percentage 77 % average 8.3 points per game
DB Clarke winning percentage 77 % average 8.3 points per game
R Mounga winning percentage 70% average 8.3 points per game.

Time to move on.

J
Jacinda 16 days ago

He will be back in time for WC

D
David 17 days ago

He’s had his time in Black- two W Cups without success. Time for another player.

E
Easy_Duzz-it 17 days ago

😊 hope he comes back …

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