Super Rugby 2019: All Blacks pivots Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga collide in semi-final

The next instalment in the ongoing battle of "Beauden Barrett versus Richie Mo'unga" will provide the sub-plot to this weekend's Super Rugby semi-final in Christchurch.

While the clash of the Crusaders and Hurricanes number 10s doesn't always live up the hype, it is always highly anticipated, and when it comes to determining the competition's leading first-five, it's Mo'unga who leads most of the stats.

He and his Crusaders have had the better of recent clashes, including a 30-12 win in last year's semi final in Christchurch.

As Ireland's most capped number 10 and now Crusaders backs coach, Ronan O'Gara has plenty of insight into the debate. 

"Beaudy has the advantage of being a superstar at test level," said O'Gara. "But I think Richie can get into that space. It makes for an exciting game.

Super Rugby 2019: All Blacks pivots Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga collide in semi-final

In recent times some of their head-to-heads have not lived up to the hype, with  Mo'unga shading his opposite, though he does have the so-called 'Rolls Royce' forward pack in front of him. 

"If you win the gain line, your time as a 10 is significantly diminished, and our guys have done a good job of that in previous campaigns."

But in Wellington, another former star first-five - now Canes assistant coach - is playing down the rivalry.

"I dont think it's about putting any pressure on these blokes especially Beauden," said Carlos Spencer. "He knows what rugby is all about, he's been there before."

Mo'unga has also had the unwanted distraction of an investigation into allegedly drunken behaviour in South Africa a month ago, and has been off limits to media since then.

But with 6 tries, 148 points, and 10 line breaks this season, he's the form first-five of the competition, going up against a two-time World Player of the Year.


Join us for live updates of Crusaders v Hurricanes from 7:30pm Saturday

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