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Crusaders pivot Mo'unga compared to Carter

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/06/2017

After starting every Crusaders game last year, Mo'unga has taken his attacking options and running to another level this season. © Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images After starting every Crusaders game last year, Mo'unga has taken his attacking options and running to another level this season. In one breath, Crusaders playmaker Richie Mo'unga is compared to Dan Carter.

Then his demeanour is measured against an America's Cup sailor.

Such praise might go to the head of some players.

Not Mo'unga, insists the man doing the talking - Crusaders assistant coach Leon MacDonald.

Former All Blacks fullback MacDonald says it's time to acknowledge the quality of the 23-year-old, who has steered his team to an unbeaten Super Rugby season so far.

Now the former age group star faces his biggest examination, against the wound-up British and Irish Lions in Christchurch on Saturday.

MacDonald is sure Mo'unga will handle the occasion, believing his temperament mirrors that of a rugby great best known for his coolness - former All Blacks No.10 Carter.

"There's a lot of Dan Carter about Richie Mo'unga," MacDonald said.

"Very rarely do you see him rattled at all, at any level. He's pretty casual, he enjoys a laugh, he's a bit of a joker.

"But for a young guy to control a team like the Crusaders, a lot of big personalities, big strong men who have played a lot of rugby for a long time, is a real credit to him."

After starting every Crusaders game last year, Mo'unga has taken his attacking options and running to another level this season.

The Christchurch-born and raised pivot had proved his resilience since returning from a fractured hand which sidelined him for a month early in the campaign, MacDonald said.

MacDonald was reminded of Mo'unga when watching Team New Zealand contest their latest America's Cup races in Bermuda.

The former Test fullback admires the steely approach of the Kiwi sailors.

"It just seemed like they were ice cold in the veins under immense pressure, and that's Richie, he just doesn't seem to get phased.

"I don't want to put pressure on Richie and say there is a Dan Carter performance brewing tomorrow.

"He's starting to realise the potential people saw in him when he was at school.

"At some stage we'll see him in the black jersey."

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