December 1995 – The Crusaders are created and named, along with the four other New Zealand teams to contest the inaugural Super 12. The team is originally known as the Canterbury Crusaders, although the provincial affiliation is later dropped to satisfy the demands of the six smaller provinces involved within the franchise.
March 1996 – The Crusaders lose 26-27 to the Chiefs at Hamilton in their first ever Super 12 match. A week later, they are well beaten 18-49 by the Auckland Blues on their first appearance in Christchurch.
May 1996 – The first Super 12 ends with the Crusaders finishing last, having won just two of their 11 matches.
September 1996 – Former All Black and long serving Canterbury flyhalf Wayne Smith is unveiled as the new Crusaders coach, taking over from former All Black lock Vance Stewart. Former Canterbury and All Black fullback Robbie Deans is appointed as team manager.
May 1998 – A try by James Kerr three minutes from fulltime hands the Crusaders a remarkable 20-13 win over the Blues in the final, to claim their first title. The win is the Crusaders’ ninth in a row for the season, and represents the Blues’ first ever loss at Eden Park.
April 1999 – An Andrew Mehrtens dropped goal in injury time gives the Crusaders a vital 30-28 win over the Bulls at Pretoria. Had the Crusaders lost they would have been out of finals contention. Five weeks later they are crowned as Super 12 champions again after edging out the Highlanders 24-19 in an all South Island (New Zealand) final in Dunedin.