Richie Mo'unga, a shining light among a galaxy of stars dressed in black at Eden Park, has an acromioclavicular (AC) joint shoulder problem but his World Cup dream is still very much on track.

"While it's not long term, he'll be sore for a couple of weeks – hopefully no more," coach Steve Hansen said today.

In scoring a try, kicking four of his five attempts at goal and putting himself about against the Wallabies with what almost amounted to disregard for his own wellbeing, Mo'unga cemented himself as the All Blacks' top No 10 for the big World Cup games next month.

If fit he will play some part in the warm-up test against Tonga in Hamilton in a fortnight. Otherwise, Josh Ioane will make his test debut.


Hansen intends to play most of his front-liners against the Tongans in order to keep them ticking over for next month's tournament in Japan and we will get a better idea of who they are when he announces his 31-player squad a week on Wednesday.

All Blacks first-five Richie Mo'unga heading for his try against the Wallabies. Photo / Mark Mitchell
All Blacks first-five Richie Mo'unga heading for his try against the Wallabies. Photo / Mark Mitchell

On the evidence of Saturday's 36-0 victory, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and utility back Jordie Barrett will be included, as will very impressive new wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece.

In the aftermath of the test, Tuipulotu admitted he hasn't always taken his opportunities and that he was just happy to have played his part in the retention of the Bledisloe Cup.

That he did play to his size and strength – particularly on defence – was a testament to an improved attitude, but also a changed diet, as Hansen revealed.

"It's interesting because we changed [his] energy intake prior to this game because he's been running out of energy," Hansen said. "We know he's fit … and last night he went deep into the game and played really well so we're really happy with him."

Midfielders Jack Goodhue, who has a hamstring strain, and Ryan Crotty, who is recovering from a broken thumb, are both close to returns and both should be available to play Tonga.

Hansen added that lock Brodie Retallick's dislocated shoulder was progressing satisfactorily and it appears almost certain that the All Blacks will take four locks to Japan; Retallick, provided he keeps improving, Tuipuluto, Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock.

Given the excellent performances of Sonny Bill Williams and Anton Lienert-Brown against the Wallabies, Ngani Laumape could be an unlucky exclusion from the World Cup squad. Prop Atu Moli may also miss it and, depending on what mix the selectors want, it could be a close call between Vaea Fifita and Jackson Hemopo.