Richie Mo'unga wants New Zealand 'to make a statement'

Richie Mo'unga is looking forward for the challenge against South Africa
Richie Mo'unga is looking forward for the challenge against South Africa
©Steve Haag

New Zealand fly-half Richie Mo'unga is relishing the challenge to face South Africa in the opening two rounds of the Rugby Championship.

The All Blacks suffered their first-ever series defeat against Ireland that came earlier in the month following defeats in Dunedin and Wellington that saw them slip to the fourth place in the World Rugby Rankings.

They will now be facing the Springboks at Mbombela Stadium and Emirates Airlines Park on 6th and 13th August respectively and the 28-year-old is confident of a turnaround.

"We're looking to the opportunity to right a few wrongs, and to be better, because we know we are capable.

"We need to make a statement about who we are as All Blacks and the standard that comes with that," he said.

"But what a challenge for us, is the way I look at it. I don't see it any other way than this opportunity being the biggest opportunity against the toughest team in the toughest place to play footy.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said.

The All Blacks also made changes to the backroom staff with Jason Ryan coming in as forwards coach with the latter already had worked with Mo'unga with Crusaders.

Head coach Ian Foster faced heavy criticism following the home series defeat to Ireland but has managed to retain his place along with skipper Sam Cane.

"Fozzie's the man for the job. I 100 per cent back Fozzie because of his coaching ability, and I think he will have more of a hands-on role with the backs and with attack.

"I had a taste early on in my All Blacks career and was able to gain so much knowledge and had wow moments out on the field when he was coaching, and it's good to see that happen again the last couple of days.

"The direction the team is going is really exciting".