Richie Mo’unga was Man of the Match after the Crusaders’ 37-18 win over the Lions in the Super Rugby Final in Christchurch — igniting further debate over whether he should take the place of Beauden Barrett in the All Black No 10 jersey.
But topping his ever-growing legion of fans is his No 1 supporter; girlfriend Sophie Vieceli.
The pair have dated for several years and she has travelled the world to watch him play. In June, Vieceli was at Mo’unga’s side when he made his All Black test debut against France in Dunedin.
“Proud of you @richiemounga, from making you soup & smoothies & dealing with a broken jaw at the start of the season to now you’re such an inspiration! #backtoback”, she wrote on Instagram after last weekend’s win.
The support is mutual, with Mo’unga as proud as punch when Vieceli graduated from the University of Canterbury in April with a Bachelor of Commerce.
The Vieceli family are no strangers to life in the spotlight. Sophie’s older sister Emma married All Black and Crusader Owen Franks in 2014 and Sophie was one of the bridesmaids.
The couples posed with Vieceli’s parents, Louis and Linda, after last Saturday’s win.
The family owns a hospitality group with venues, including Christchurch’s Bangalore Polo Club.