20 year old hooker George Bell has signed a 3 year deal with the Crusaders to make him one of the youngest on our roster for Super Rugby Pacific 2023.
Bell is a product of our Crusaders Academy and notably made his Super Rugby debut before playing NPC rugby. Reminiscing on his debut, Bell said,
“I was pretty nervous before heading out there, but we had a good week leading into it which I took a lot of confidence from.”
“It was definitely a really special moment, getting onto the field and then getting that dot at the end was the cherry on top. A cool moment for the family and everyone behind the scenes to see me get over the line.”
Playing Super Rugby before NPC is something Bell acknowledges as atypical,
“It probably worked in my favour with the whole covid situation, with the bubbles we couldn’t get that many people in. It all happened so fast - Seb [Calder] as well, he’s in the same boat as me and were flatmates too so it was funny getting to run on the field with him and debut together.”
Flatmates George Bell (right) and Seb Calder (left) after their debut against the Western Force in May 2022
As a young player in the Crusaders environment, Bell has no shortage of World Class coaches and mentors to lean on; but one that sticks out is recently departed forwards coach, Jase Ryan.
“Jase had a massive impact on me. I remember him first chatting to me at university and he planted the seed about my future in the game which was a hugely pivotal moment for me. He’s a massive figure for me, a big mentor who’s helped me on the journey and kept me on the right path so he’s been awesome.”
Signing his first Super Rugby contract was something Bell had dreamt about, so when the moment came for him, the weight of the occasion wasn’t lost on the young hooker,
“Yeah it was a ‘pinch yourself moment’ for sure, it was crazy to realise that finally you’re becoming a professional rugby player. That’s what you want to be when you’re younger and to get to that point is an amazing feeling.”
Bell is awaiting surgery for an injured foot that has put him out of the upcoming All Blacks XV Northern Tour. The wider Crusaders team are looking forward to seeing George back on his feet for the red and black this season.