BNZ Crusaders hooker Andrew Makalio has re-committed to the club for the 2019 Investec Super Rugby season.

Makalio said that, in just his second season with the BNZ Crusaders, it was an easy decision to sign on for a third: “The start of my professional rugby career has moved quite fast, and I never would have believed that after my first season with Tasman I’d be representing the Crusaders the following year.

“It’s a huge honour to be a part of this team and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I‘ve had to wear the jersey. I’m happy with the progress I have made in developing my game and in the end, the decision to continue here with this group of players and a really engaging coaching group, was easy to make,” Makalio said.

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Born in Auckland, Makalio played representative rugby for Auckland from under-15s level through to Auckland B. He made the move south to link up with the Harlequins club in Blenheim, and went on to make his provincial debut for Tasman in 2016. The 26-year-old played in all 12 games that season, including the Premiership Final against Canterbury. Three days after that match, Makalio was named in the BNZ Crusaders squad for 2017 and earned his first Super Rugby cap in round eight of the side’s Championship-winning season.
In May last year, Makalio was selected to represent the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians side who faced the British and Irish Lions in an historic match in Whangarei during their tour to New Zealand. The powerful front-rower has played six games so far this season for the BNZ Crusaders and scored two tries – a double in the Crusaders’ 55-10 win over the Rebels in Melbourne.
BNZ Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said Makalio was continuing to evolve his role as a Super Rugby player: “Andrew is a really dynamic hooker – he’s big and strong but also really mobile around the park. He’s had two strong Mitre 10 Cup campaigns with the Tasman Mako and has established himself as an integral member of their front row.
“Drew’s getting more and more opportunities with the Crusaders this season and has shown already that he’s better for the increased game time at this level. He’s a massive contributor to our team culture and we know there is still plenty of potential to unlock in the big man, so we’re excited to have him re-commit to our group through 2019,” Robertson said.

The BNZ Crusaders take on the Hurricanes in a top-of-the-table clash this Friday 25 May, 7:35pm, at AMI Stadium in Christchurch . To secure your tickets, click here or visit one of Ticket Direct's official outlets. Please avoid purchasing tickets through resale sites such as Viagogo, as these tickets won't be accepted at AMI Stadium.