Barrett-Mo’unga look to progress their roles
The goal would be to work better together with Mo’unga.
“Having one game under our belt, we’ve learnt a lot from that and at times we were perhaps in each other’s pockets and I think tactically and structurally if we can be aligned and be on the same page that’s going to work best for the team and we should see some good rewards from that,” he said.
Mo’unga was unfazed by most things, he was cool and very calm when he spoke and presented and that was felt when playing alongside him.
“It’s a quality of his that rubs off on the boys in those tough moments when you just need to steady the ship and keep things simple,” he said.
Barrett said the Australian pairing of Samu Kerevi and James O’Connor in midfield had been unexpected and it was anyone’s guess what that would mean for the shape of their attack.
But for the All Blacks it was a case seeing every phase and every play as an opportunity to attack them and for that reason it would be exciting.
There was an element of the unknown for everyone with O’Connor.
“He’s been away for a while and he’s in a jersey we’re not used to him playing in and there’s no doubt he’s a very talented player who can play a number of positions – as can many of their players,” he said.
While Israel Folau was not at fullback, Barrett said Australia lost nothing by having Kurtley Beale in the role. He was such an unpredictable player which in some ways was potentially more threatening for the All Blacks.
Second five-eighths Anton Lienert-Brown said there was a connect established with what Mo’unga and Barrett were attempting to do at training during the week.
“Everyone has slightly different things they do but I guess as an overall game plan we want to achieve the same things. There definitely is the opportunity to connect and this week I’m outside Richie so it’s connecting with him whereas in Argentina I was really connecting with Beaudy at centre,” he said.
Lienert-Brown said the last time he had seen O’Connor play he was at high school and he would be doing some homework on him.
“But what I do know is that he’s a great player and he’s done some great things in the Aussie jersey so we are going to have to look at some footage and think about possible situations that he could do differently. So we’ll go away and do that and look forward to the challenge,” he said.
Samu, on the other hand, was one of the key players at the moment for the Reds and Australia.
“He’s an incredibly strong ball carrier as well and as a player you always look forward to playing against the best and I’m looking forward to that challenge,” he said.