The 2019 Super Rugby season will see the return of a familiar face to the BNZ Crusaders, with popular loose forward Whetu Douglas signing on with the club for the 2019/2020 seasons. Prior to that, Douglas will link up with Canterbury at the start of their 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign, having also committed to the red and blacks for the next two seasons.  

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27-year-old Douglas, who was called in to the BNZ Crusaders as an injury replacement for last year’s Investec Super Rugby competition, played six games for the side in their title-winning season, and had an immediate impact on the team, coaches, and fans alike. He scored a try in each of the team’s first two matches of the year - against the Brumbies and Highlanders - and went on to score another try in his last game, against the Sunwolves in week eight. 
Douglas left New Zealand with his young family following his stint in Super Rugby, to honour a contract with Italian Pro 14 side Benetton Treviso.
BNZ Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said after his whirlwind introduction to Super Rugby, the club is thrilled to welcome Douglas back in 2019: “Whetu was a standout player in our 2017 season. He joined the squad as injury cover, slotted in to our team environment effortlessly and became a crowd favourite very early on.
“He’s the ultimate team man - humble and hardworking – and he holds great Mana among our group. Whetu has a phenomenal attitude and a real willingness to dig deep for his team mates, so we’re excited to have him commit for the next two seasons, and look forward to having him back in a Crusaders jersey in 2019,” Robertson said. 
A Waikato representative from 2013-2016, Douglas was named in the Maori All Blacks squad for the first time in 2016, for their end of year tour to Chicago, London and Ireland.
Canterbury Head Coach Joe Maddock said Douglas is an important addition to his squad for the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup season: “Whetu will be a fantastic asset to our loose forward stocks this year, and we are pleased he has made the decision to return to New Zealand with his family.
“He’ll be better for his experience playing overseas, and I’m sure his knowledge will be invaluable among our young squad this season,” Maddock said.

Douglas said he was looking forward to continuing his career in Christchurch: "Not only am I excited to be playing in New Zealand and in the Super Rugby competition, I am excited and honoured to be joining the Crusaders and Canterbury for the next two years. The history of excellence in this region I believe, is the best fit for me to reach my full potential as a professional rugby player.

"I am grateful for this opportunity, and my family and I look forward to joining the Christchurch community soon.

"Ki a koutou o te motu: Whāia te iti kahurangi: ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei," Douglas said.