Rugby World Cup 2019: Richie Mo'unga teases 'witch doctor' treatment on injured shoulder

Injured first-five Richie Mo'unga has teased how traditional healing methods may have - once again - come to the aid of an All Black ahead of a Rugby World Cup.

Four years ago, Waisake Naholo's pursuit of alternative treatment became the stuff of legend, when he made an incredible comeback from a broken leg to make the squad.

Now Mo'unga's recovery from a shoulder injury includes an eerie piece of history repeating.

His shoulder can now handle a few hugs - and also test footy apparently.

"Shoulder is ready to go," chuckles Mo'unga. "No dramas. 

"I was over in Fiji last week, so I got a bit of the witch doctor treatment." 

Mo'unga went down, clutching his right shoulder late in the win over Australia at Eden Park.

The way he spins the yarn, a Fijian holiday has played its part, similar to Naholo's miraculous 2015 recovery.

"You don't know what happens," insists Mo'unga, but with tongue in cheek. "I just woke up and I was good to go."

Because Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett are the only two first-fives in this year's World Cup squad, another injury could be a serious problem.

Coach Steve Hansen will pick between outside backs Jordie Barrett and Ben Smith, halfback TJ Perenara and midfielder Ryan Crotty as makeshift back-ups.

That's a surprise to Jordie.

"It's something I haven't spoken to Steve about," he admits. "Completely unknown to me."

Although, apparently another candidate reckons he's ready.

"I think TJ would say there are three first-fives," says Barrett. "He'd say he's a good 10."

Canada and Namibia shape as pool games where the All Blacks could take the risk.

Selector Grant Fox thinks a pre-World Cup camp and 10 days of training after their South African opener is enough to prepare them.

"Now whether one of those guys started or deputised off the bench, while we rotated Beauden and Richie to cover those games, we've given a lot of thought to that, but haven't made final decisions," he told Newshub.

Even so, they'd rather have Richie Mo'unga casting spells on the opposition, than rely on witchcraft - and an untested first-five - in key World Cup games.


Join us for live updates of the 2019 Rugby World Cup from September 20