Dan Carter weighs into the All Blacks fly-half debate after Richie Mo’unga’s departure

Colin Newboult
Damian McKenzie and Beauden Barrett alongside great All Black fly-half Dan Carter.

Damian McKenzie and Beauden Barrett alongside great All Black fly-half Dan Carter.

All Blacks legend Dan Carter believes that the fly-half shirt will be primarily contested by Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie in 2024.

Ahead of this year’s Test season, the coveted number 10 jersey is being hotly debated following the departure of Richie Mo’unga to Japan.

Mo’unga was the first-choice fly-half during the Rugby World Cup, with Barrett playing at full-back and McKenzie the utility option off the bench.

Barrett’s NZR commitment

Barrett is also currently in Asia but, unlike the ex-Crusader, who signed a three-year contract, he will return to New Zealand after the current Japanese season has finished.

That will make him available for the two-Test series against England – Scott Robertson’s first games as the new head coach – and means that he has a big decision to make over the next three months.

While much of the attention has centred on McKenzie and his form for the Chiefs over the past couple of seasons, Carter was quick to remind people that an All Blacks centurion should not be forgotten.

“You’ve got Beaudy and he’s re-signed on a long-term contract, so you’ve got experience there,” he told the Kick Offs and Kick Ons podcast.

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Stephen Perofeta is another playmaker that is potentially putting himself in contention considering his form in Super Rugby, but Carter did not name-check the Blues star.

McKenzie and Razor

Instead, he praised the talents of McKenzie, who continues to shine for the Chiefs domestically.

As a result, the 28-year-old is the favourite to take the jersey, but Carter believes that the selection will depend on Robertson’s game plan.

He knows the new All Blacks boss well having played alongside him for the Crusaders, while he was also coached by him at Canterbury.

“Damian McKenzie has really lit up Super Rugby and what he’s done for the Chiefs in this first half of the season, so he will be right up there as well,” Carter said.

“He’s really well suited to Super Rugby, the game’s a bit more open, so it all depends on the style of play that Razor tries to implement.

“You’ve got two slightly different styles in Beaudy and Dmac but, if there’s one player who can open up a game, it’s Damian McKenzie. Just his ability to play off-the-cuff, read the game, his natural ability to back up his instincts.”

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