Richie Mo’unga: All Blacks not listening to ‘outside noise’ as Will Jordan misses training ahead of Springboks fixture

·3-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

All Blacks fly-half Richie Mo’unga is not letting any “outside noise” get to him as he believes the team is good enough to find their feet in Test rugby again.

New Zealand are in the midst of one of their worst spells in history, losing three games in a row for the first time since 1998, which has heaped pressure onto head coach Ian Foster and all the players.

Mo’unga has not had much of an opportunity in the black jersey this year, spending most of his time on the bench behind Beauden Barrett, who may not be best placed to start this week after his horrifying collision with Kurt-Lee Arendse.

Raring to go

“I’m chomping at the bit to have another crack, but I’m also at the point where the outside noise doesn’t matter for me. It doesn’t affect me. I’m at a stage now if you’re not in our squad, I don’t really care what you think, with all respect,” said Mo’unga.

“I understand the fans and people out there can get frustrated with results. But we’re trying our best, and we know it’s not good enough for All Blacks standards. So preparations will be very deep to get the result this weekend.”

Mo’unga believes the criticism of the team is fair as it shows the fans care, and All Blacks supporters are understandably always looking for their team to win every game.

“It’s very fair,” he responded. “A team they support that usually gets results is not getting results, and it’s fair the fans care. They care about our team and care about our results, but it’s also fair of us to not care about what they think because we have a job to do and hearing that isn’t going to help us.”

Ellis Park Test is the “pinnacle”

For the All Black playmaker, nothing compares to a Test match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, where players truly get a feel of the fixture’s history.

“Nothing compares to it,” he said while smiling. “For me this is the pinnacle. This is where you want to be playing against a team that is just awesome. There’s the noise, 60-odd thousand at altitude – you feel the blood in your lungs, you can taste it, and you understand the history. It’s a privilege to play at a place like that.”

Mo’unga claims he is not frustrated by not starting and will fulfil any role given to him, whether it is from the start or a short, sharp stint later on.

“I wouldn’t say frustrated,” he added. “I’m the type of guy whatever role you give me in this team, I’ll do the best I can. But also I’m just ready. I’m capable of a start as well, I’m capable of being the guy, if the team needs me to be that guy.

“But I also understand if I have a role to come on for the last 20-30 to change a game around, I’m ready.”

Concerns over Will Jordan

Prolific try scorer Will Jordan missed training on Tuesday after falling ill with a stomach bug and could be a doubt for Saturday’s clash.

Jordan showed his try-scoring ability in a losing cause against Ireland and is a constant try threat on the field. It would be a big loss for the All Blacks if he was unavailable for the Ellis Park Test.

However, All Blacks captain Sam Cane believes Jordan will be fine and does not see it as an issue.

“I don’t think he’s too bad. He’s just got a mild stomach issue. He was at the gym yesterday afternoon, so it can’t be too bad,” he said.

READ MORE: Springboks: 50 up for Frans Malherbe as Duane Vermeulen returns for New Zealand rematch

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