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Golden Barrett needs to take down Mo'unga in Kiwi playmaking showdown

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25.06.2019

It's the prince versus the pretender. It's Federer versus Nadal. It's golden Thor versus swarthy Zorro. It's individual genius versus collective genius. It's Beauden Barrett against Richie Mo'unga.

At least that's how the New Zealand semi-final is going to be largely billed. And why not? It's a fascinating contest between the two great No 10s of the current age. Both men are coming off hugely influential performances in their respective quarter-finals, both men are bang on form.

Class act: Beauden Barrett will be, as always, a pivotal figure for the Hurricanes against the Crusaders.Credit:AP

Of course, there will be way, way more to the Crusaders versus Hurricanes semi-final than just the twin peaks of Barrett and Mo'unga. Still breathless after the Canes had held on against the Bulls, Danes Coles said: "Little mistakes can have a massive effect."

Ruthless, mystical, butterfly-effect chaos theory from the feisty hooker. A little knock-on can be the turnover of possession that leads to a try. A not straight throw might save the opposition from the man in the sin bin that would have eventuated if the driving maul had been set up as intended.

Little things will matter on attack just as much in defence. Jeff Toomaga-Allen is not the world's greatest scrummager but he is a good ball player. Two carries in the match against the Bulls, neither particularly picked out, set the momentum for tries. They were the little things that made the spectacular finales possible.

Little mistakes from the referee or the TMO can be just as influential. The Bulls won't be the first South African side that think they were dudded in the........

© Brisbane Times