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