ZB

All Blacks star commits to 2023 World Cup campaign

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Sat, 28 May 2022, 11:55am
Richie Mo'unga (left) and Aaron Smith. Photo / Photosport.co.nz
Richie Mo'unga (left) and Aaron Smith. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

All Blacks star commits to 2023 World Cup campaign

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Sat, 28 May 2022, 11:55am

All Blacks and Crusaders first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga has signed a fresh one-year deal with New Zealand Rugby as he eyes another World Cup campaign.

Mo'unga, 28, joins Beauden Barrett in extending his NZR contract, the duo now officially available as two experienced playmaking options for the All Blacks in France next year.

Mo'unga, who has played 32 tests since his debut in 2017, told NZME the decision to sign-on was a no-brainer.

"It really was an easy decision for me and my family, you know, it's a dream playing for the Crusaders, the team I love, and it also gives me an opportunity to stick around and have my name in conversations around World Cup time.

"So it's awesome we're staying put in Christchurch for another year."

The idea of remaining with the Crusaders and Canterbury, and continuing life in Christchurch with his family, was a major part of Mo'unga's attraction to staying in New Zealand.

"Being a dad is the most important thing to me and being here allows me to leave footy at the door when I get back home.

"The Crusaders are really awesome with kids and families and involving them."

Now that his immediate future is secure, Mo'unga's focus is firmly set on the Crusaders finals campaign; which gets underway next week in a rematch against a Reds teamĀ it defeated in a messy affair on Friday night.

Mo'unga, who has spent two weeks on the sidelines with injury, is expected to return for a match he says the side has huge motivation to win.

"This is ultimately why we play, we want to win and we've given ourselves a chance and the thought of losing, and that being the season, it doesn't sit well with me.

"So we'll do everything we can in terms of prep to make sure we earn ourselves another week."