16 Sep 2020

Richie Mo'unga commits to Rugby Championship

5:56 am on 16 September 2020

All Black first-five Richie Mo'unga has committed to the Rugby Championship in Australia.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 10: Richie Mo'unga of the All Blacks looks dejected after the teams defeat during the 2019 Bledisloe Cup test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Qantas Wallabies at Optus Stadium, August 10 2019 in Perth,


RNZ incorrectly reported on Monday that Mo'unga had told New Zealand Rugby that he didn't want to leave his young family for nine weeks.

Yesterday afternoon Mo'unga rubbished the report.

"It was actually quite laughable, really. It was the first I heard of it," Mo'unga told reporters in Christchurch.

"I had discussions with my wife and family that I'm lucky enough to have had a month with my baby, she turned four weeks on Sunday," Mo'unga said.

"But I do realise I am a footy player and I have a duty, and that's to play for Canterbury, and hopefully the All Blacks."

"It's a tricky one because as players we are made accountable for the things we say and do and it's quite tricky when speculations come out like that and it can be harmful and sad for family members during these uncertain times."

The All Blacks coach Ian Foster is confident he'll have a full strength squad to choose from to take to Australia and said while some players have questions over spending nine weeks away and what that might look like, none had yet made the decision not to travel.

He also dismissed RNZ's report on Monday that Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara didn't want to go the tournament, saying while they had some questions they were yet to make a decision.

Now the dates for next month's Bledisloe Cup tests in New Zealand are confirmed, Foster will want confirmation of how long the All Blacks will be in Australia, before talking to each player individually.

New Zealand Rugby will determine on a case by case basis what the players want to do, with players given the option to opt out of heading across the Tasman.

Foster yesterday said it was frustrating people were focusing on the negatives, such as "losing" out on hosting the Rugby Championship to Australia, rather than the positives, such as having a decent chunk of test rugby this year.

New Zealanders we're rightly upset to have missed out on what could possibly be a one-time chance of seeing the four-nation tournament in their own backyard. But Foster makes a good point; In a year where nothing is certain due to the Covid pandemic, it's great that we have two Bledisloe Cup tests in New Zealand, hopefully with sell-out crowds, and then a series of tests against Australia at home and the world champion Springboks.

The Bledisloe Cup tests, in Wellington on Sunday, October 11 and Auckland on Sunday, October 18, are afternoon games, which should will please many fans and hopefully make for some expansive and exciting rugby.