Super Rugby

Crusaders keeping faith in Mo’unga



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Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder says he has no intention of dropping Richie Mo’unga after a poor Super Rugby goal kicking performance against the Sharks in Durban.

Mo’unga missed four kicks out of five at goal in the Crusaders scrappy 14-19 victory over the Sharks which led to Nemani Nadolo taking the final conversion kick in the match.

Twenty-one-year-old Mo’unga’s miss-kicks effectively cost the Crusaders 11 points through three penalties and a conversion.

Mo’unga landed one conversion in the match but had he landed all of his kicks the Crusaders might not have had to push so hard at the end for the victory.

Kickers will often struggle if they are nursing an injury but Blackadder says Mo’unga does not have an injury and that he still believes in his play maker.

“No excuses there. He just had one of those nights where things weren’t quite working,” Blackadder told Stuff.

“He will probably recalibrate and be back again next week.

“There’s certainly a little bit of concern there because we left a lot of points out there on the park, which he will be pretty disappointed about. ”

“We probably dodged a bullet on that behalf. It would have been disappointing to have lost a game because we couldn’t execute and turn all that possession and pressure into points.”

Before the Sharks match Mo’unga had a 70 per cent success rate and Blackadder has indicated that he will retain him for the match against the Lions in Johannesburg.

“It doesn’t mean he isn’t capable. Richie is a guy who works really hard on his goal kicking. He will be back on doubt about that,” Blackadder added.

“I would probably stick with him. And also, too, everyone is entitled to have one of those moments where they don’t have a great night. It’s important the other guys step-up and Nemani did that.”

The Crusaders were deserved winners against the Sharks who lived off the New Zealand teams mistakes and Blackadder says that 17 turnovers from handling errors is unacceptable.

“We dropped some passes we normally wouldn’t, so we probably just tried to force it a little bit instead of keeping it close and being a little bit direct,” Blackadder said.

“But we knew if we played direct we would have probably come second.”

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