On the final day of the 2021 Junior Crusaders camp in Christchurch, a 26-strong squad has been named to take on the Highlanders Under 18 team in Timaru on Friday.
60 secondary school rugby players assembled for the Junior Crusaders camp at Christchurch Park this week, and Head Coach Jason Ryan said he has been impressed by their dedication and energy over the last three days, which made reducing the squad down to 26 players a difficult task.
"We had a really clear focus going in to this camp, around setting this group of young men up to succeed, and our theme centred around the concept of 'Learning to fly'," Ryan said.
"We hope all players walk away from this experience with not only the on-field knowledge to continue to develop their rugby, but also a genuine sense of what it means to be part of our Crusaders environment and the enjoyment and connection that comes with that.
"This group has really embraced the last few days. We've been fortunate to have the support of current and former Crusaders players, coaches and management, who have each shared their expertise and passion for the game, with the next generation of rugby talent."
In total, eight schools from the Crusaders region are represented in the final Junior Crusaders squad, which will be led by Christ's College Captain, Johnny Lee.
"It wasn't easy selecting just 26 players, but the 2021 Junior Crusaders are a group of promising young men who will represent our club with a lot of pride," Ryan said.
Kick off in the Junior Crusaders match against the Highlanders Under 18 side is 12:30pm, Friday 15th October, at Alpine Energy Stadium in Timaru. The match will also be live-streamed on sideline.live
The 2021 Junior Crusaders coaching group is as follows:
Head Coach – Jason Ryan
Lead Coach (Attack) - Andy Gibson
Lead Coach (Defence) - Johnny Leo’o
Set Piece Coach – Simon Gunn
Skills Coach – Matt MacDougall
Assistant Coach (Attack) - Jake Mangin