Richie Mo'unga hails influence...

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Richie Mo'unga hails influence of "awesome" Ronan O'Gara on his career

Phil Egan
Phil Egan

2:56 PM - 18 Oct 2019




New Zealand out-half Richie Mo'unga says Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara has helped to improve his game over the last two seasons during his time at the Crusaders.

O'Gara spent two seasons at the Super Rugby champions before taking up a head-coach role at La Rochelle this summer and Mo'unga feels the Cork man had a big impact during his time in Canterbury:

"RO'G has been awesome. He's still very hard to understand, so I take very little from our conversations, but he's very determined, like all Irish are, very driven, and that gives me a little insight into what the Irish are like. This week is going to be a very tough test. They're going to come all guns blazing."

The 25-year-old will start in a backline which includes his clubmates George Bridge and Seevu Reece on the wings:

"I had a joke with Sevu about who would have thought at the start of this year we'd be here together, let alone all three of us. These are very special moments. To go even deeper, our families are so proud of us and we want to make them proud.

"My memories of the All Blacks started from Jonah Lomu, looking up to the great 10s, and what happened in 2011. As a 10 myself, I thought, 'man, if only I was a bit older, I might have got the call-up'."

"He inspired a lot of young Kiwis and I’ve no doubt he inspired a lot of the world in terms of rugby. As All Blacks, it means a lot to us if we can inspire people and inspire young Kiwis.

"That's how my love of the game grew. He was able to do things I thought people could never do. The inspiration and my love for the game grew within me and grew my desire to be an All Black."

Head-coach Steve Hansen has been deploying dual playmakers at the tournament with Beauden Barrett at full-back and Mo'unga feels that dynamic has been working well:

"It's great. We've come a long way since our first pairing early on in the year.

"It's important to know we're never going to get everything right but we're trying to sharpen up parts of our game where we can help each other and, as key drivers of the team, help the team out."

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