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Crusaders set sights on another Super Rugby title 2022

Crusaders Super Rugby
Photo by The Daily Rugby

The Crusaders are determined to continue their remarkable run by claiming a sixth title in as many years in next year’s inaugural Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

Scott Robertson’s men have enjoyed an incredible period of success, winning Super Rugby three times in a row before Covid put pay to that competition in 2020.

With travel restrictions making it difficult to move freely between countries, Super Rugby Aotearoa was set up and the Christchurch outfit once again dominated, claiming silverware in ’20 and 2021.

Crusaders Super Rugby Schedule

All 12 squads for the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season have been confirmed this morning, including Australia’s five teams and new entrants Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson revealed his Super Rugby Pacific squad at a function with Bromley School pupils on Monday morning.

Codie Taylor, Brodie McAlister, Shilo Klein
Joe Moody, Oli Jager, Fletcher Newell, George Bower, Tamaiti Williams, Finlay Brewis
Scott Barrett, Quentin Strange, Mitchell Dunshea, Sam Whitelock, Zach Gallagher
Loose forwards: Tom Christie, Ethan Blackadder, Sione Havili Talitui, Cullen Grace, Pablo Matera, Dominic Gardiner, Corey Kellow
Mitch Drummond, Bryn Hall, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
First fives:
Richie Mo’unga, Simon Hickey, Fergus Burke
Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Braydon Ennor, Isaiah Punivai, Dallas McLeod
Outside backs:
Chay Fihaki, George Bridge, Sevu Reece, Will Jordan, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Kini Naholo

Gains: Matera (Argentina); Tahuriorangi (Chiefs); Naholo (Chiefs); Hickey (Hurricanes); Gardiner (Canterbury); Brewis (Canterbury); Gallagher (Canterbury); Klein (Canterbury); Kellow (Canterbury)

On the move: Isileli Tuungafasi (Moana Pasifika); Andrew Makalio (Highlanders); Michael Alaalatoa (Ireland); Whetukamokamo Douglas (Japan); Tom Sanders (Japan); Ereatara Enari (Moana Pasifika); Brett Cameron (Japan); Manasa Mataele (Force), Luke Romano (Blues); Josh McKay (Scotland)

Each of New Zealand’s five Super Rugby Pacific squads have been bolstered by notable players who were plying their trade on foreign shores in 2021 including Beauden Barrett (Blues), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), TJ Perenara and Dominic Bird (Hurricanes), Pablo Matera (Crusaders) and Marty Banks and Rhys Marshall (Highlanders).

There has also been some movement on the transfer market with 12 players making a move between New Zealand’s five clubs, and a further nine players moving to a newly minted Moana Pasifika squad featuring Wallabies veterans Sekope Kepu and Christian Lealifano.

Among New Zealand Rugby’s five Super Rugby Pacific squads there are 31 ‘rookies’, defined as those players who have signed their first full-time Super Rugby contracts in 2022, only slightly up on the 26 selected in 2021.

There is a total of 190 NZR contracted players across the Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes. A total of 38 players have been contracted by Moana Pasifika.

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