The Crusaders and the Christchurch Stadium Trust have confirmed Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch as the host venue for all of the Crusaders’ home matches in 2020, when the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa competition officially kicks off next month. Christchurch will play host to four rounds of the New Zealand-based competition.

“Crusaders players made a welcome return to training today, and anticipation is building in the city for the team to get back out on the field next month,” Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said. “It’s exciting to share the news that the team will be able to continue playing all home games at Orangetheory Stadium in 2020, and we’re extremely grateful for the support of the Christchurch Stadium Trust and Vbase in helping to make this happen.”

Crusaders Chairman Grant Jarrold added: “The global COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on communities and presented significant challenges to many businesses, and rugby is no exception. We have been fortunate to have the support of the Christchurch Stadium Trust who have acknowledged our situation during this difficult time.”

The Trust Chairman Trevor Thornton said “In these extraordinary times the Christchurch Stadium Trust and Vbase are pleased to accommodate the Crusaders so they can play their Super Rugby Aotearoa home games at Orangetheory Stadium.”

Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa will see the five New Zealand-based Super Rugby clubs play one another home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches every weekend. The Crusaders have a bye in round one, and will play their first game against the Hurricanes on Sunday 21 June, in Wellington. The side’s first home fixture is against the Chiefs on Sunday 28 June.

Prior to the suspension of the 2020 competition, the Crusaders had been unbeaten at Orangetheory Stadium since 2016.

Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said: “Orangetheory Stadium has been our home venue for a number of years now, and we have a proud history of playing there, including the last two Super Rugby Finals which were incredibly special. 

“Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa is a new chapter for our team in 2020, and it’s an opportunity to continue our proud legacy at home. This competition is going to be a massive challenge, but it’s one we’re really looking forward to, and despite all of the uncertainty at the moment, knowing the side will be running out on to a familiar ground in a few weeks’ time is a huge boost for us.”