BNZ Crusaders and Chiefs to return to Fiji in 2019

Super Rugby will return to Fiji in 2019, with the BNZ Crusaders set to face the Chiefs in round 16 of next year’s campaign.

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Five new names in 2019 BNZ Crusaders squad

The BNZ Crusaders squad for 2019 has been named, and will feature five new players for the Investec Super Rugby season.

Head Coach Scott Robertson, alongside Assistant Coach Brad Mooar and Forwards Coach Jason Ryan, announced the 38-man squad this morning at Rugby Park, and Robertson said he is confident he has the right mix of players to take the team forward in 2019.
"I'm really excited to name the squad today, as our pre-season starts to take shape. It's a really consistent group to what we had last season, but we've also named some young players we think are going to step in to our environment and thrive, which is exciting as we plan for 2019."
There are two new additions to the forwards in 2019. As previously announced, Whetukamokamo Douglas returns to the side having played six times for the Crusaders during their 2017 season. Following a stint with Italian club, Benetton, the former Waikato player returned to Christchurch for Canterbury's 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign where he was named as Co-Captain, but was ruled out midway through the season due to a fractured thumb.

21 year old ​prop Harry Allan has been named in the team for the first time, although he has two Super Rugby caps to his name already; Allan debuted for the Crusaders against the Sunwolves in 2018, and then played the Rebels in Melbourne.

"Whetu was a popular member of our team in 2017, with fans and team mates alike, so we are thrilled to have him back in a Crusaders jersey. He was unlucky to miss part of the Canterbury season through injury but he'll come back ready for a big Super season in 2019. He's a genuine leader and a great team man," Robertson said.

"Harry is a strong, young front rower with plenty of potential. He's been in our environment before and that experience will set him up nicely for his first full Super Rugby season."

Two Canterbury backs will also join the squad in 2019, in team mates Brett Cameron and Ngane Punivai. Promising Tasman outside back, Leicester Faingaanuku, completes the 2019 squad for the Crusaders.

"We're really excited about the new talent joining our back line this season," Robertson said.  

"Brett did a fantastic job steering Canterbury around the park during this year's Mitre 10 Cup, and was rewarded with a spot on the end of year tour as part of the All Blacks wider squad. He's a balanced No. 10 who possesses a good turn of speed and both his kicking out of hand and his goal-kicking are exceptional.

"Ngane is a great centre/wing option for us, his size and speed are huge assets. He’s a smart player who makes good decisions and has an incredible work ethic.

“Leicester was an incredible age-group player and dominated through schools’ rugby. His size and power are his greatest strengths, so it’s no surprise he finds his way to the try line frequently. We know he’ll take that potential and perform for us in a Crusaders jersey.”

2019 BNZ Crusaders squad:

Michael Alaalatoa       Tim Bateman
Harry Allan     George Bridge
Scott Barrett       Brett Cameron
Ethan Blackadder Ryan Crotty
Whetukamokamo Douglas Israel Dagg
Mitchell Dunshea Mitchell Drummond
Owen Franks Ereatara Enari
Ben Funnell Braydon Ennor
Billy Harmon Leicester Faingaanuku
Oliver Jager Jack Goodhue
Andrew Makalio Bryn Hall
Joe Moody David Havili
Tim Perry Mitchell Hunt
Kieran Read Will Jordan
Luke Romano Manasa Mataele
Tom Sanders Richie Mo'unga
Quinten Strange Ngane Punivai
Jordan Taufua  
Codie Taylor  
Matt Todd  
Sam Whitelock

Moody re-commits to NZ Rugby and BNZ Crusaders

All Blacks and BNZ Crusaders loosehead prop, Joe Moody, has committed to playing his rugby in New Zealand through to 2022.

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Colin Mansbridge appointed as new Chief Executive

The BNZ Crusaders have announced today that Colin Mansbridge has been appointed as the new CEO of the Crusaders. He will begin at Rugby Park in early December as pre-season training commences in the lead-up to the 2019 Super Rugby season.

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Southbridge RFC to host 2019 Farmlands Cup

Southbridge Rugby Club, hometown club of BNZ Crusaders and All Blacks legend Dan Carter, will host the 2019 Farmlands Cup game – the first southern derby of the year.

The fourth edition of the Farmlands Cup pits the BNZ Crusaders up against the defending Farmlands Cup holders, the Pulse Energy Highlanders. Since 2016, the Farmlands Cup has returned first-class rugby to its grassroots. Previous editions have been held in Waimumu in Southland (twice) and Darfield.

BNZ Crusaders Chairman Grant Jarrold says it is a thrill to bring the Farmlands Cup game back to Canterbury.

“The BNZ Crusaders appreciate every opportunity to connect with the wider community and the rural community in Canterbury represent an important fan base for us,” Mr Jarrold says. 

“This will be the first time Southbridge have hosted this pre-season fixture but plans are already well underway. We have no doubt the people of Selwyn and the surrounding area will get behind this game and celebrate this Crusaders team out in their community.”

Farmlands Co-operative CEO Peter Reidie says the Farmlands Cup has captured the imagination of South Island rugby fans. 

“Rugby isn’t only about the big stadiums – it is about the small rugby grounds and parks around New Zealand that breed the next generation of Super Rugby players,” Mr Reidie says.

“We have had three sell-outs in a row, giving 19,400 people the chance to see high quality rugby. We are confident the Southbridge event will be another sell-out. Farmlands is proud to support something that gives back to our rural communities and provides people with an opportunity to see their rugby heroes in person.”

Southbridge, the community 45km from Christchurch, holds a special place in the hearts of Crusaders fans. Southbridge Rugby President, Hamish Gilbert says the club is excited to play host to the Farmlands Cup.

“It is fantastic to see the Crusaders bringing their pre-season game out into the rural community, especially to a part of Canterbury that has a very long and proud history of rugby,” Mr Gilbert says.

“We look forward to hosting this prestigious event and being able to showcase our fabulous facilities to the wider rugby community.”

The 2018 Farmlands Cup in February produced an exciting, high scoring game, with the Highlanders beating the Crusaders 42-26 in Waimumu. Farmlands shareholders will have an opportunity to receive the first tickets to the 2019 game through in-store promotions during October, before an exclusive pre-sale starting 1st November. Tickets will go on public sale in December.