Crusaders 2019

  • I don't think the Crusaders will need to do a huge amount of new recruitment for 2019, but here's a thread to discuss.*

    *I don't keep track of player contracts, but @Stargazer can fill in where my perceptions are wrong.

    People who are definitely leaving:
    Wyatt Crockett - need a new loosehead prop
    Pete Samu - already replaced by Whetu Douglas
    Seta Tamanivalu - will be missed a bit on the wing, but Manasa Mataele will be a decent replacement. Seta's effectiveness as class cover at centre will be a big loss. Just for this, I'd see what Ma'a Nonu is doing next year!

    People who were signed as cover for injured players:
    Billy Harmon for Jed Brown
    Jack Stratton for Ere Enari

    People who haven't featured much and might be candidates for the axe (possibly depending on their contract status):
    Oliver Jager - I've never been that impressed with Jager
    Mitchell Dunshea - a good prospect, but I can't see how he holds a place ahead of Bidwell-Curtis
    Mike Delany - done a great job, but surely a stop-gap measure until someone like Brett Cameron is ready.
    Jone Macilai - Might survive due to Seta going, but I'd be inclined to carry one less wing and use his slot to sign HBC.
    Will Jordan - more a case of if he's ever going to come right.

    People I hope we've got locked into contracts
    Michael Alaalatoa, Tim Bateman, Scott Barrett, George Bridge, Ethan Blackadder, Ryan Crotty, Israel Dagg, Owen Franks, Mitchell Drummond, Ben Funnell, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Bryn Hall, Andrew Makalio, David Havili, Joe Moody, Mitchell Hunt, Tim Perry, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Manasa Mataele, Richie Mo’unga, Tom Sanders, Quinten Strange, Jordan Taufua, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Sam Whitelock

  • Jager has already signed for 2019,Michael Alaalatoa,Scott Barrett, George Bridge, Ryan Crotty, Israel Dagg, Owen Franks, Mitchell Drummond, Ben Funnell, Braydon Ennor, Bryn Hall, Andrew Makalio, David Havili, Joe Moody, Mitchell Hunt, Tim Perry, Kieran Read,Jack Goodhue,Richie Mo’unga, Tom Sanders,Jordan Taufua, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Sam Whitelock
    Are all Contracted for 2019 a lot beyond 2019

    It Seems to me Strange,Romano,Mataele,Blackadder,Bedwell-Curtis would be the major signings to be locked

  • @chris-b

    Contracted up to and including: (as far as I have them on my list)


    Barrett, S
    Whitelock, S



    Contract duration unknown:

    Off-contract, re-signing unknown:
    Bateman will play in Japan after this SR season; there has been no announcement of him having re-signed (he's off contract after this season)

    Off-contract, not re-signing:
    Crockett (retired; Mitre 10 Cup for Tasman)
    Samu (Brumbies)
    Tamanivalu (Bordeaux)

  • We'd be glad to take any of Strange, Dunshea, and Romano of your hands.

  • Romano might be one to watch as a guy who might take an overseas contract a year before the RWC as a way of beating the rush. I guess Strange stepping into his shoes and Dunshea in reserve would be adequate replacements.

    You'd think/hope that Strange, Mataele, Blackadder, Dunshea and HBC would all be pretty keen on extending their contracts, if necessary.

    Ordinarily I wouldn't have said Tim Bateman was a major loss, but with Big Seta also departing that leaves us with only Havili and Ennor as back-up options to Crotty and Goodhue and possibly midfield pickings will be thin in NPC.

  • @chris-b yep pretty much agree with all of that
    Rameka Poihipi one to keep an eye on as a 2nd/1st five option word out he’s rated by the Crusaders coaches

  • @chris Is Poihipi more a first five or second five option - or both? Seems like he was a schoolboy 1st five - is that where he's playing club rugby.

    Thinking more about the longer term future, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if Romano was to leave the Crusaders after this season. Even if he went to the Blues @Tim. 🙂

    After the 2019 RWC, we're probably going to lose most or all of Crotty, Dagg, Franks, Read and Todd, so allowing people like Strange and Dunshea to get more game time next year so that they've moved beyond rookie status when that happens might be helpful.

    Incidentally, seemed to me that Razor might have inadvertently announced Kieran Read's retirement from NZ rugby (after RWC) this week. Not a surprise, but probably jumping the PR management gun. Listen at 8.15-8.35.

    There's my scoop of the week! 🙂

  • @chris-b said in Crusaders 2019:

    @chris Is Poihipi more a first five or second five option - or both? Seems like he was a schoolboy 1st five - is that where he's playing club rugby.

    He played both at Hamilton BHS, but more 1st 5 from memory.

  • @bovidae Yep he did play a lot at First Five and Hamilton BHS but The Crusaders used him at 2nd Five in the June games v French Barbarians and the Force. hes big enough for 2nd Five and sees the options well in front of him could be a creative player at 2nd Five. I Rate him if you have a chance go back and track him through the Babas and force games impressive 19 year old.

  • @chris I watched the 1st half of the Crusaders-French Baabaas game so took note of his performance.

    BTW, his younger brother is part of the current Ham BHS 1st XV squad.

  • @bovidae Is his younger brother a first five as well and as talented ?

  • And what about Caleb Makene ?

  • @cgrant There's a bit of a queue for potentially one wing spot - Macilai, the Faingaanuku brothers, Makene, and anyone else Razor spots.

    I'd still take Macilai over the other three at present. Makene is pretty small - not sure we need a small wing.

  • @chris said in Crusaders 2019:

    @bovidae Is his younger brother a first five as well and as talented ?

    He was on the bench in the Ham BHS game vs Napier BHS game but I can't remember which backline position he played when he came on the field, possibly wing or fullback.

  • @bovidae
    Thanks Mate

  • Midfield depth looms as a potential issue with Timanivalu and Bateman going. Ennor can cover centre, but I wouldn't want him to be the main back up option there unless he plays there for Canterbury this NPC and nails it. There are young locks around to cover any losses there (Dalzell, Dunshea and Will Tucker), and with Crocky gone we still have two AB loosehead props. We'll have Sanders back in the loosies come 2019 but I'd like to see Blackadder and HBC also signed up.

    I love the few weeks preceeding the NPC and then the competition itself as the reveal period for new talent. This is when young guys I might have read about in club footy reports, guys who may or may not have been NZ U20 players come through.

  • As for outside backs, Bridge, Dagg, Ennor, and Havili'i are a good start, but as Chris B rightly says, the latter two could end up in midfield. I could take or leave Macilai mainly due to not having been able to prove himself at SR level, while I went right off Mataele on Friday night when he was made to look like Matt Dunning as he got mowed down by a 32 year old white boy, WITH EASE. I'd like to see Will Jordan get back on the field sooner rather than later. Pity Alaimalo re-signed with the Chiefs as it'd be nice to see a Bedean running around for the Crusaders rather than the Chiefs (two) or Highlanders (they have three of them).

  • @shark Mataele has been pretty good otherwise - but, it was interesting to see BFA win that race pretty easily. Mind you, I reckon he'd run down Big Seta equally easily.

    Interesting thing about Havili is how young he still is - still just 23 - even though he's in his fourth season of Super rugby and has racked up 50 appearances. Quite reasonable to think that he could re-convert to the midfield as Crotty's eventual replacement - though ideally he'd add a bit more bulk before then.

    Alaimalo was a bit of a miss by the Canterbury/ Tasman/Crusaders scouts - at least Tasman has gone a little way down the path of rectifying that!

  • @chris-b not sure it was a miss by Canterbury scouts, Dale MacLeod was involved in age group stuff down there and got him up here soon after he started with Northland, and when Dale was elbowed out the door, Alaimalo went to your rag tag bunch...if Southland had been able to pick MacLeod up sooner, I wonder if Alaimalo woulda followed.

  • @taniwharugby Going to Southland would be a pretty big call for anyone to make these days - no matter how loyal to a coach you might be.

    Looking like a useful pick-up by Leon - as long as Hansen keeps his grubby hands to himself. 🙂

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