Super Rugby 2019 chat: New Crusaders midfield overshadows Richie Mo'unga absence

Richie Mo'unga's absence from the Crusaders should be offset by the exciting new midfield combination named for this week's Super Rugby clash with the Sharks.

The All Blacks first-five, who re-committed to NZ Rugby last week, will miss his second game of the season due to international player welfare protocols.

The omens aren't great - his previous absence coincided with the champions' lone loss to the Waratahs.

"That was a really, really bad loss, actually," reflects Newshub rugby guru John Day. "But I'm really excited about this midfield, which I think we'll see a lot more of in 2020."

With All Black Ryan Crotty spelled this week, coach Scott Robertson has paired up-and-comers Jack Goodhue and Braydon Ennor in the centres, with Goodhue wearing the unfamiliar number-12 jersey.

"This is their future midfield, with Crotty going to Japan next season," says fellow Newshub rugbyhead Ollie Ritchie. "Ennor is very comfortable at 13, but Goodhue is in a relatively new position."

Day holds no worries over his ability to adjust.

"They say a good '13' should be able to cover at '12' as well and Jack Goodhue has made every post a winner. I see he has the vice-captaincy as well, so they're going to turn him into a bit of a leader for the Crusaders."

Watch the full video, as our experts forecast a bumper weekend of Super Rugby, with all five New Zealand teams in action, including a derby between the Highlanders and Chiefs in Dunedin.


Join us for live updates of Super Rugby action throughout the weekend.

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