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Hall of Fame 2023 inductees

The Crusaders launched our Hall of Fame in 2023, an annual recognition of players and coaches who have made significant contributions or achieved greatness with the club. Despite only being in its second year, there’s an undoubted prestige to the occasion.


It’s the signature event for our Crusade with Heart Foundation, a charitable trust set up in 2022 to ensure the Crusaders have an ever-increasing positive impact on the community that we are a part of, that we represent, that we play for.


At the inaugural Hall of Fame in 2023, it was an absolute honour to welcome our first three inductees.



Inductee #1: Todd Blackadder



Todd Blackadder was Crusader #8 when he debuted in 1996 and played 71 games for the Crusaders. He lifted the Super Rugby trophy three times before hanging up his playing boots in 2001. He returned in 2009 as the first-ever former Crusaders player to coach and led the team for eight seasons – including 2011 where the team played every game away from home and still made the final.


"When I first made the team in 1996, I never ever thought I'd be here today and I feel really honoured to be the first inductee. I have to say there will be another 100 join me very soon because there are so many good people in this organisation just as worthy.”



Inductee #2: Justin Marshall



Justin Marshall was Crusader #9 and our first ever centurion, playing 101 games for the franchise between 1996 and 2005. He was the first Crusader to captain the All Blacks and played an integral part in our title wins in 1999, 2002 and 2005. When he left to play overseas, he was New Zealand’s most-capped international test back having played 81 tests for the All Blacks.


“When you know who's in the room the players that you played with, the players you've seen play even up till the present day, what they've achieved, what you've achieved, family being there as well it hits you pretty hard to be honest.”



Inductee #3: Wayne Smith



Wayne Smith retired from playing before the Crusaders were formed but became Crusaders Head Coach in 1997, prioritising culture over success. He was pivotal in turning an off-field sense of belonging into on-field success and the team went from last to sixth in his first season. The franchise would only miss playoffs twice for the next 20+ years and won Super Rugby titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000.


“I'm proud as one of the ones involved in the early stages to see how the culture and the club has developed, how it's grown and how the values have been retained."


At the 2024 event, to be held at Te Pae Christchurch on Friday 24 May, we will induct another three legends of the club. Colin Mansbridge, Crusaders CEO said events like the Hall of Fame formed a huge part of the club’s culture and identity.


“I’m absolutely thrilled to be once again holding the Crusaders Hall of Fame in 2024, a chance to celebrate the history and success we’ve had at the Crusaders over the years,” Mansbridge said.