WELLINGTON – Steve Hansen has been pondering playing Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett together for 'quite a while', the All Blacks coach said on Thursday, and Saturday's test against the South Africa was just the right time to give it a go.
Hansen sprung a surprise when he named his team for the Rugby Championship clash in Wellington by moving the two-times World Player of the Year Barrett to fullback and giving Mo'unga the flyhalf jersey in only his third test start.
While Mo'unga's test career began only last year off the bench against France in Dunedin, his form for the all-conquering Canterbury Crusaders has proved impossible to ignore.
“It's probably time,” Hansen told reporters on Thursday.
“We've got a plan with a whole lot of things that we want to do before we get to the nitty gritty business (of the Rugby World Cup) and we just felt Saturday's the right time to try that particular part of the plan.”