WELLINGTON – Richie Mo'unga's form for the Canterbury Crusaders in their run to a 10th Super Rugby title could yet thrust All Blacks coach Steve Hansen back into a debate over his flyhalf options that he thought was long done and dusted.
The 25-year-old's poise under pressure in Saturday's final against the Jaguares, when he slotted four penalties and a conversion, gave him the right to at least some consideration as a pretender to Beauden Barrett's number 10 jersey.
The drum beats for Mo'unga to usurp the two-time World Rugby Player of the Year are not as loud as last year, however, perhaps because of the proximity of the Rugby World Cup.
Mo'unga has played just nine tests since he made his debut against France last year, seven from the bench. Barrett has played 73 tests since 2012, more than half of which have been in the number 10 jersey.
The 28-year-old Barrett has also already been through one World Cup campaign in 2015 and his experience in the high pressure of test matches weighs heavily in his favour.