It was the Richie Mo’unga show in Christchurch this morning as the Crusaders ran out 45-28 winners over the Stormers.
Mo’unga was central to everything that was good about the defending champions’ performance as they further established their favourite’s tag for this year’s competition with a seven-try rout.
Mo’unga kicked five conversions in addition to going over for his own try in the second half which was one of the tries of the game.
The 23-year-old picked up the ball about 10 metres out from the Stormers line and he produced a sublime step off his right foot to dumbfound the Stormers defence as he touched down for his side’s seventh and final try of the game with over 10 minutes remaining.
However, the gloss was taken off that victory when Mo’unga left the field at the end of the game with a suspected broken jaw which could rule him out for a considerable period of time.
This not only comes as a blow to the Crusaders but also to Mo’unga’s own ambitions of cementing his place in Steve Hansen’s plans as an able deputy to Beauden Barrett.
“It was just a head clash,” head coach Scott Robertson told Stuff. “It was when their reserve prop scored, he took one on the chin. He (Mo’unga) sort of fell off that tackle when they scored. He is away getting X-rays now.”
Supporters will hope the X-rays prove that the injury isn’t as bad as originally feared.