All Blacks legend Dan Carter has delved into the All Blacks’ fly-half stocks and picked who he thinks will most likely take the jersey in 2024.
With Richie Mo’unga jetting off to Japan and the future of Beauden Barrett also uncertain, new head coach Scott Robertson will be searching for the next New Zealand number 10.
Damian McKenzie is the favourite to take over in 2024, but Carter thinks another player will be right there with him during the 2024 Test season.
Experience of All Blacks camps
“It’s an exciting season next year for a lot of the number 10s. Obviously, the incumbent, Richie Mo’unga, has shot over to Japan for a few years,” he told New Zealand Herald.
“There’s the likes of Damian McKenzie and Stephen Perofeta that have been in the environment in the past so they’re probably the front runners for that position.”
Barrett, who played at full-back during the recent Rugby World Cup, could also come into contention, despite committing to Japanese side Toyota Verblitz for the 2023/24 campaign.
New Zealand Rugby are in negotiation to bring him back after his deal in Asia ends, but that has yet to be ratified.
If not, and the 32-year-old extends his stay with Toyota, that would leave the All Blacks short of experience going forward.
“Who knows what Beaudy’s going to do? If he decided to come back to New Zealand, that would be a huge asset for us,” Carter said.
The next generation
Although McKenzie, injury-depending, seems to be the standout option, spots are very much up for grabs behind the Chiefs man.
There will be plenty of uncapped or inexperienced players who will think they can break into that squad for the July series.
At the Crusaders, Fergus Burke appeared to be Mo’unga’s successor, only for an Achilles issue to rule him out of the start of Super Rugby Pacific.
That has duly opened the door for either Rivez Reihana or the talented New Zealand U20 fly-half Taha Kemara to nail down a spot at franchise level, and potentially catch the eye of Robertson.
Elsewhere, Brett Cameron and Aidan Morgan will vie for the 10 shirt at the Hurricanes, while at the Highlanders, youngsters Ajay Faleafaga and Cam Millar will look to learn off experienced Welshman Rhys Patchell.
“What an opportunity for the young guys. There’s a lot of young talent in the country and it’s a matter of them putting their hands up through the Super Rugby season,” Carter added.
“With the new coaching group and selectors, if you’re able to impress them and then get in the conversation, you’ve clearly done something well at Super Rugby level.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for all those young number 10s.”