Barrett will challenge Carter's greatness - O'Gara

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Monday, March 5, 2018    Getty Images

Barrett will be one key player the Crusaders are concerned about in the Investec Super Rugby clash in Wellington on Saturday and Crusaders assistant coach, and former Ireland star five-eighths, Ronan O'Gara will have to prepare his side knowing another potential challenger Richie Mo'unga is out with a broken jaw.

Barrett filled grounds and excited people, O'Gara said.

"Everything that is good about rugby, is what Beauden Barrett does. He is an exceptional talent, he has probably nearly redefined No.10 play.

"I think Dan [Carter] was obviously, and still is probably, the best No.10 in the world over all the decades but Beauden Barrett is very exciting and potentially going to challenge him for that title," he said.

As for Mo'unga, he was suffering the disappointment of missing out for a significant part of the campaign.

He had to be patient, O'Gara said, after his successful surgery.

While initially disappointed he had started to pick himself up and the goal was now to ensure that he worked on his fitness in order to give himself the best chance of pushing for consideration for the All Blacks' squad for the June Test series against France.

"He is very positive, he is a very pleasant kid. The most important thing for us is that it is early in the season," he said.

With an unexpected chance for starting game time for six to eight weeks, the amount of time it is expected to take for Mo'unga to recover, Mitchell Hunt has a great opportunity.

O'Gara's advice to the Tasman ace was to enjoy the situation, especially in his first-up game at Wellington, where the Crusaders have been winless since 2012.

"It's an opportunity, he knows that he can do it and he's delivered for his team-mates before and they have huge confidence in him.

"It's not Mitch Hunt against Beauden Barrett, but it is a chance for him to enjoy it and express himself. That's why as a kid you play rugby," he said.

And Hunt knows all about kid's moments after his stupendous long range dropped goal in the last minute to help the Crusaders beat the Highlanders in Christchurch last year.