His silky on-field skills intact, Richie Mo’unga is trying something new.

Leading rugby playmaker Richie Mo'unga has added a new string to his considerable bow, one he doesn't even need to lace up his boots for.

While most know him for his electrifying running game and deadly accurate goal kicking, the Christchurch-born first five-eighth is getting new kicks from an unlikely place at the moment – the kitchen.

Mo'unga - a regular at 10 for the Crusaders and the All Blacks - has taken to helping his wife Sophie prepare dinner each night, a task he admits doesn't come as naturally to him as carving up opposition defences in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

"I've never been a great cook," he says. "I did take food technology when I was at school, but I only did that because we got to eat some of what we cooked."


Mo'unga's venture into the kitchen has come about thanks to the launch of HelloFresh in areas of the South Island. He is one of several celebrity guests How To Dad Jordan Watson has invited to help cook easy-to-prepare recipes in the How To Dinner video series made in partnership with HelloFresh.

HelloFresh's expansion to the South Island means 'mainlanders' within their delivery regions now have access, like North Islanders, to home-delivered HelloFresh meal bags – with the added benefit of not having to prepare or shop for ingredients.

For several weeks Richie and Sophie have had HelloFresh meals delivered to their door every Sunday; Mo'unga is so taken with how delicious the recipes are, and how easy they are to prepare, he reckons it is far easier than running a backline on match-day.

"It was a bit daunting at the start," he says. "The pictures on the recipe cards make it look like they are from a five-star restaurant but it is actually one of the easier things I've done."

During filming, Mo'unga spent time with Watson preparing a meatball and couscous-based meal: "It was simple and I just followed orders (on the step-by-step recipe cards that come with the meal kits)."

Now he and Sophie have started eating HelloFresh four nights-a-week, a habit which has come at an opportune time.

With Super Rugby back in full flow, the couple is also expecting their first child and their already busy lives are likely to get even busier – a lifestyle that appears tailor-made for the convenience benefits of having simple HelloFresh recipes with fresh, seasonal ingredients delivered each week.

Sophie works in marketing while Richie spends hours each week playing, training and preparing for games.


He says everything involved in the build-up to games - gym work, match reviews, training and "homework" - can be draining and the last thing either he or Sophie want to think about when they get home at night is what to have for dinner.

He says he likes how simple the whole process is, with recipe cards which come within pre-sorted and colour-coded meal kit bags delivered to their door.

"All the ingredients are freshly packed and everything you need is in the bags," he says. "We are eating them four nights-a-week now and for me the best thing is it gives you a lot more ideas for meals.

"I was always mainly a meat and veg person, but HelloFresh has introduced me to ingredients I would never otherwise have thought about. It also means we don't have to do a big shop at the supermarket as often either."

As a professional rugby player Mo'unga says it is important to be eating the right things and to maintain energy in order to perform at the top level.

Now that he's eating HelloFresh meals does he think the Blues (who are shaping as the main rivals to the Crusaders in Super Rugby Aotearoa) ought to be wary of a revitalised Richie Mo'unga?

Noting the Blues good form so far this season he laughs: "Maybe they have had HelloFresh for a while themselves."