Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his squad to contest the 2013 Investec Super Rugby competition.It includes nine new faces and twenty three players returning from the 2012 Crusaders squad.

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Four of the new faces – Dominic Bird, Johnny McNicholl, Joe Moody and Codie Taylor – were part of the Crusaders’ wider training group for the 2012 season.  All four players have also been a part of the Canterbury squad that took out the ITM Cup Premiership competition last weekend.

Blackadder said they are players who have really shown their worth and their commitment to this region: “We recognised last season that these were players with real promise, and all of them have really proven themselves both as part of the Crusaders’ wider training group and particularly in the important contributions they all made to the Canterbury ITM Cup team this year.”

Another two players who were involved in the Canterbury squad this year and have earned the call-up to the Crusaders are prop Nepo Laulala and loose forward Jordan Taufua.

“Nepo has played two seasons for Canterbury now and proven himself to be a really promising tighthead.  Jordan had an outstanding season for Tasman in the ITM Cup and made a real impact when he joined the Canterbury squad for the semi-final and final.  I expect they will both play important roles in our Crusaders forward pack,” Blackadder said.

Taufua will be joined by Tasman teammates Shane Christie and Jeremy Su’a in the squad.  Christie is one of three new loose forwards in the squad.  He has also played in the national Sevens team and was this week named in the Maori All Blacks squad for the 2012 European tour.

Su’a is a halfback who was part of the Samoan national team at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

“Jordan, Shane and Jeremy were three of the star players for Tasman this season,” Blackadder said. “It is great to have such strong representation from Tasman in the 2013 squad.”

The one player to be recruited from outside of the Crusaders catchment area for next season is loose forward Jimmy Tupou.  Tupou has been playing for Counties Manukau in the ITM Cup and was also a member of the New Zealand Under 20 team that competed in the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa .

“We are excited to have Jimmy Tupou on board for next season.  He is a physical and talented loose forward who I have no doubt will be a real asset to this squad,” Blackadder said.

2013 Crusaders Squad

Dominic Bird Lock
Tyler Bleyendaal Five eighth
Dan Carter First five-eighth
Shane Christie Loose forward
Wyatt Crockett Prop
Ryan Crotty Midfield back
Israel Dagg Outside back
Tom Donnelly Lock
Andy Ellis Halfback
Corey Flynn Hooker
Owen Franks Prop
Robbie Fruean Midfield back
Ben Funnell Hooker
Zac Guildford Outside back
Willi Heinz Halfback
Nepo Laulala Prop
Tom Marshall Outside back
Richie McCaw Flanker
Johnny McNicholl Outside back
Joe Moody Prop
Kieran Read Loose forward
Luke Romano Lock
Jeremy Su'a Halfback
Jordan Taufua Loose forward
Codie Taylor Hooker
Tom Taylor Five eighth
Matt Todd Loose forward
Jimmy Tupou Loose forward
Adam Whitelock Outside back
George Whitelock Loose forward
Luke Whitelock Loose forward
Samuel Whitelock Lock