The All Blacks have been “blessed” with some world class first-fives over the years, including the likes of Dan Carter and Beauden Barrett.
But the All Blacks’ playmaking stocks are set to be put to the test.
After a generation of success, glory and excellence, the All Blacks will seemingly have “slim picking” of flyhalves after this year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
Test veterans Richie Mo’unga, Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie are all options at first-five for the All Blacks – for now.
The three superstars of New Zealand Rugby have all donned the No. 10 jersey at both Super Rugby and Test level, and will be eager to make their mark if called up by coach Ian Foster this year.
But the playing futures of McKenzie and Barrett remain known, while Mo’unga is set to head overseas to Japan after this year’s World Cup.
McKenzie has plyed his trade in Japan for Tokyo Sungoliath, while there were reports of Barrett seeking a test eligibility exceptional so he could head overseas.
If those players were to head overseas, former All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg said New Zealand Rugby will “be hit with a big old shock.”
“A country that has been so blessed with 10s I feel is about to be hit with a big old shock,” Dagg told SENZ Breakfast.
“You just have to look at the latest signing of Freddie Burns at the Landers and around the country, that we might just be around to experience a slim picking in terms of 10s and playmakers.
“(With) the departure of Mo’unga, D-Mac McKenzie (and) an ageing Beauden Barrett who probably will look to cash in overseas, we see our stocks are very, very slim.”
The Highlanders recently announced the signing for former England international Freddie Burns, which raised a few eyebrows in the rugby-mad nation.
Burns’ arrival in New Zealand could see him stall the development of some emerging stars, including the likes of Sam Gilbert and Cam Millar.
Rugby World Cup winning first-five Stephen Donald echoed Dagg’s concerns, saying that the “cracks’ may begin to show following this year’s World Cup.
“I think we might be able to paper over the cracks maybe for a year or two more,” Donald told SENZ The Run Home.
“Even once Richie leaves, maybe Beaudy stays for another stint – he’s certainly indicted that he’s not beyond looking at another World Cup and you’ve also got McKenzie there but he’s (Dagg) right, who going to emerge?
“The Hurricanes have two that for Hurricanes rugby and New Zealand Rugby, it would be nice if one of them emerges this year… they’ll (Hurricanes) want one to emerge this year in Aidan Morgan or Ruben Love,” he added.
“Obviously Ruben Love dices between 15 as well but you’re right, the fact they we have (few top options) … I guess it’s been really highlighted (by) the fact that we’ve had to go and get someone from England to fill in a Super Rugby spot.
“That’s the thing for me; I don’t think we should be doing it regardless of what our talent looks like, I just don’t think we should be doing it, but I don’t think we should have gone down that route.”