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'It's a no brainer, I don't even know why it's a debate' - experts pick the All Blacks flyhalf

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Wednesday Jun 12, 2024

Former Wallabies secondrow Justin Harrison has weighed in on who he believes is a locked-in starter for the All Blacks flyhalf starting role in 2024.

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Appearing on RugbyPass’s Aotearoa Rugby Pod, Harrison was asked by host Ross Karl who he felt should be given the first opportunity to replace the departed Richie Mo’unga.

“You touched on Damien McKenzie before.” Karl said, I’m interested in your point of view. We have had an email through from a guy called Matt Oosthuizen who wanted to know about Damien McKenzie and how he stands within the All Blacks scheme of things. Do you feel, from where you’re standing, that he is the first choice 10, and he should be given that crack?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Harrison fired back, “Yeah, I think it’s a no-brainer. I don’t even know why it’s even a question.

“He doesn’t seem to be getting the merit that he has earned. He really has been one of the best-performing players, consistently over multiple seasons and in that position.

“Then he’s asked to sort of play out of the position every now and then or come off the bench or put in some sort of two-way tug of war to give equal minutes (to other players).

“I just think that it’s his position now, it’s his jersey, it’s his position to take the All Blacks into the test campaign.

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“The All Blacks need a consistent 10; they need to really get a 9 and 10 now to take them into the next World Cup period knowing exactly what their cohesion model looks like because we know that any team that’s a chance of threatening the top end of the tournament and winning it.

“You need, of course, to scramble all those sorts of things and power in your forwards, but you need a 9 and 10 that have got lots of tests together before they take the World Cup campaign together,” Harrison concluded. 

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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