Richie Mo'unga credits Ronan O'Gara's honesty in goal kicking transformation
Crusaders and All Blacks fly-half Richie Mo'unga has credited Ronan O'Gara and his honesty for helping him progress as a goal kicker.
Mo'unga landed just four of his first 12 attempts to start the new year but ended the season with 17 successful shots at goal during the Crusaders three Super Rugby playoff wins, and 24 of his last 25 attempts during the campaign.
He credits a new kicking drill with assistant coach Brad Mooar but also praised O'Gara for some one-on-one sessions where he was honest with where he was as a player.
"He's been honest with me, he's had a few hard words with me at the start of the year around my goal kicking, and a few other things around my game play which has put me in good stead," Mo'unga said of O'Gara.
"The hard speeches that we sometimes don't want to hear on a Monday morning is what we need. He keeps us honest, we respect what he says because he's done it 120 something times for Ireland."
Mo'unga was awarded the Crusaders' man of the match award in the 19-3 win over the Jaguares in the Super Rugby final, where he kicked 14 points, and he said that he was able to establish a bit more a rhythm towards the back end of the season.
"It's a tough thing when it's not going well. But I will say in the first half of the season, we weren't taking shots at goal for penalties. Come playoffs, you get a bit more chance to get in a good rhythm," he added.
"It's something I consistently work on and I know how much it makes a difference in these knock-out games."
Mo'unga was included jn a 39-man New Zealand squad for the first two matches of the Rugby Championship against Argentina and South Africa later this month.