Beauden Barrett Richie Mo’unga heads NZ’s most sought-after Super Rugby players

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Beauden Barrett Richie Mo'unga helped guide the Crusaders to a third consecutive Super Rugby title.

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Richie Mo’unga helped guide the Crusaders to a third consecutive Super Rugby title.

​Richie Mo’unga and Ardie Savea would be the clear top two transfer targets if New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises could make off-season purchases.

Unlike the mouth-watering transfer season in European football, when fans barely contain their excitement about their side being potentially transformed through buying a couple of star players, Super Rugby’s downtime rarely generates any interest, bar the odd “Beauden Barrett to the Blues” yarn.

That’s because this nation’s top rugby players are effectively centrally contracted by New Zealand Rugby, rather than the franchises. So player movement is limited when there’s not the lure of a far greater wage, or a whopping transfer fee being dangled in front of a chief executive.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF

The Crusaders hold a victory celebration at Christchurch Art Gallery after winning their third straight title.

We’re currently witnessing one of the most sensational NBA off-seasons with a welter of high-profile moves, yet the winter gloom won’t be brightened for rugby fans by any shock switches.

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But what if it was different? What if there was a fluid, busy transfer market for the cream and the upcoming, that weren’t being picked off by northern hemisphere clubs?

Stuff’s rugby scribes have come up with a Top 10 list of the most in-demand p

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