How McKenzie stole the show the last time he started at No10 for the All Blacks
One of the hottest topics in New Zealand rugby currently is who should wear the No10 shirt.
Richie Mo’unga has been Ian Foster’s favourite so far in his tenure, and even at the end of the Steve Hansen era, but Beauden Barrett put in a timely reminder against Argentina last week as to what he can do there, with both players vying to start against the Springboks next weekend.
Foster has blindsided everyone for the second Test against Argentina this Saturday though by selecting Damian McKenzie in the No10 shirt instead. The 26-year-old has only started there for the All Blacks once before, but it was some performance, as he amassed 24 points in a 49-14 win over France in Dunedin in 2018.
Take a look at his performance:
Two tries and two try assists is not a bad return for a player who has only started at No10 once for the All Blacks. Both tries against France came from playing with tempo and attacking the line, and the breaks were not dissimilar from the darting runs that Mo’unga and Barrett produce. In fact, Barrett’s break and wonder-offload for Luke Jacobson’s try last weekend was also a case of exploiting a gap in the middle of the field. Foster will therefore know that a change in personnel will not mean a change in style, which will please him as he seeks to build continuity.
McKenzie will be aware that this is only a temporary measure while Mo’unga completes his quarantine, having arrived in Australia this week, and Barrett is allowed to rest. The two-time World Rugby player of the year is on the bench, but Foster will want to manage his playing time before a double header with the world number ones South Africa. Having said that, a repeat of last week’s results (All Blacks beating Argentina by more than 15 points and the Springboks losing to Australia), will see the All Blacks return to world number one.