Crusaders 2020

  • @Chris-B Isi Tuangafasi has reportedly not signed with Northland, and is off to Canterbury..

  • @Steven-Harris So that might mean he has signed with the Crusaders, too?

  • @Steven-Harris Probably gives him the inside running on that tighthead spot, then!

  • @Stargazer said in Crusaders 2020:

    @Steven-Harris So that might mean he has signed with the Crusaders, too?

    looks like it

  • @Chris-B I think Isi is a LH prop, not TH.

    He was the third LH (behind Moody and Allan) for the Crusaders in 2019, not TH. I think he also played at LH - at least most of the time - for Northland.

    Unless he's one of those props who can play both ... but that's not how he has been used by the Saders. We'll see. Maybe they only named him at LH, because George Bower is a TH.

  • @Stargazer Is he? 🙂

    For some reason I had in my head he was a TH, but I haven't paid too much attention.

  • @Stargazer said in Crusaders 2020:

    @Chris-B I think Isi is a LH prop, not TH.

    He was the third LH (behind Moody and Allan) for the Crusaders in 2019, not TH. I think he also played at LH - at least most of the time - for Northland.

    Unless he's one of those props who can play both ... but that's not how he has been used by the Saders. We'll see. Maybe they only named him at LH, because George Bower is a TH.

    Yeah he subbed for the Crusaders at TH when Allen and he were on the Bench also George Bower plays both sides

  • @Stargazer These guys get quite confusing when they can play both.

    Bower apparently can - according to this - Bower, who started out as a loosehead prop but switched to tighthead to fill a void when he moved to Dunedin, prefers tighthead but the Crusaders are utilising him as cover for All Blacks loosehead Joe Moody.

  • So in conclusion, we might see:



  • @Chris-B said in Crusaders 2020:

    So in conclusion, we might see:



    Yep I reckon thats the Props

  • alt text

  • So Fetuli Paea made it into the squad. What's his main position?

    Finau and McLeod are both midfielders, aren't they?

    Disappointed they've gone for Burke, but I guess there weren't better 1st fives available in NZ.

  • Did Inga Finau mostly play centre for Canterbury?

    Makes sense that all the new signings are primarily midfielders. Probably a signal that Ennor is still viewed as a wing. Really looking forward to the first week starting backline.

  • @Stargazer Paea is a centre or wing. Played mainly centre for Tasman and I'm pretty sure that's where the Crusaders need him. Good pick up I think.

    I liked my eight selections above better than Razor's! 🙂

  • Media release

    Crusaders announce new-look 2020 Investec Super Rugby squad

    Crusaders announce new-look 2020 Investec Super Rugby squad

    Scott Barrett to Captain the side in 2020

    Andrew Goodman replaces Ronan O’Gara as Backs CoachThe Crusaders squad for 2020 has been named, with a number of debutants in the side, and some familiar faces who will be named in the 38-man squad for the first time.

    The official announcement of all five New Zealand Investec Super Rugby squads is live on Sky Sport this evening, and Head Coach Scott Robertson is in attendance to reveal his Crusaders team for Super Rugby’s 25th season.

    alt text

    Robertson said: “This is an exciting new era for the Crusaders, and an opportunity for some talented young players to step up in the Super Rugby environment. We farewelled a number of highly experienced players and great men at the end of last season, who have set this year’s squad up to build on our success. It’s exciting to embrace a new chapter of Crusaders rugby, which starts with the naming of our squad tonight.”

    Of the 12 new Crusaders, six players have progressed through the Crusaders Academy (Fergus Burke, Tom Christie, Inga Finau, Cullen Grace, Brodie McAlister, Dallas McLeod) and the group represents six provincial unions across New Zealand; Canterbury, Tasman, Otago, Waikato, North Harbour and Northland. Four players also have Super Rugby caps to their name already – Sevu Reece, Brodie McAlister, Isi Tuungafasi and George Bower were all capped during the 2019 season.

    “Crusaders fans will be familiar with wing Sevu Reece,” Robertson said. “He was our 2019 Rookie of the Year after joining the squad as an injury replacement and making the most of his opportunity at Super Rugby level. An exciting and instinctive player, we’re looking forward to welcoming Sevu back following his debut Rugby World Cup campaign with the All Blacks.

    “We also welcome front-rowers Brodie, Isi and George as full squad members this season. Brodie was a New Zealand Schools representative who, at just 22, has had to overcome some adversity with injury early in his career. He had some valuable game time for Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup recently and is a promising addition for us at hooker.

    “George Bower is another great addition to our squad having made a really meaningful contribution at prop in 2019. He’s an agile and skilful front rower, who can play either side of the scrum, and he’s a really popular team man as well so we look forward to giving him further opportunities with the Crusaders in 2020.

    “I coached Isi with the New Zealand Under 20 side back in 2015 and he’s a young prop who impressed us during his time here last season. He first represented Auckland at provincial level before making the move to Northland in 2018 for more opportunities, and it's great to have him return to Christchurch ahead of our 2020 campaign,” Robertson said.

    Of the uncapped players joining the squad, there are four forwards and four backs.

    “Ethan Roots is a strong, abrasive loose forward/lock option for us, who had a brilliant Mitre 10 Cup season for North Harbour. We’re excited to unlock the potential in this promising East Coast Bays club representative,” Robertson said.

    “Sione Havili will also join our loose forwards as a powerful ball carrier and defender, who had his 2018 season cut short through injury but was superb in the Tasman Mako pack in 2019.

    “Tom Christie and Cullen Grace complete our loose forward group for 2020 – both are former UC Championship players who represented New Zealand Secondary Schools’, Canterbury Under 19s, and the New Zealand Under 20 side. Tom has shown plenty of leadership qualities having captained the Under 20s, and Cullen impressed in his debut provincial season as a loose forward who has the ability to play lock.

    “Fetuli Paea caps off a brilliant season for the Mako with Super Rugby selection. He has represented Tonga in both the sevens and 15’s game, is an explosive ball carrier, and gives us options with his ability to play a number of backline positions.

    “Inga Finau took a year off from professional rugby in 2018 to pursue his studies, returned for Canterbury this season and impressed as a strong, physical ball carrier capable of making an impact in the midfield. He has big shoes to fill with the departure of some highly experienced midfielders, but Inga is a quality footballer and we can’t wait to see what he can do on the Super Rugby stage.

    “Completing our playing roster for 2020 are young backs Fergus Burke and Dallas McLeod, who made their debuts for Canterbury this season. Fergus was a member of the New Zealand Under 20 side this year, while Dallas was Vice-Captain of that team for the Junior World Championship in Argentina. At just 20 years of age, we believe both have great futures ahead of them, and we look forward to having all of our 2020 rookies assemble as part of our Crusaders squad for the pre-season in a couple of week’s time,” Robertson said.

    In the absence of Sam Whitelock in 2020, Robertson has also named a new Captain in Scott Barrett, and said the lock is a natural choice to lead the side in his sixth season with the Crusaders: “Scott has a phenomenal work ethic, and produces consistent performances for the Crusaders. He’s well-respected by his team mates as well as the coaching and management group, has great character and helps drive our team culture so we see him as a natural fit to Captain the side and congratulate Scooter on this exciting opportunity.”

    The Crusaders squad will officially assemble to commence their pre-season on 28th November, with the All Blacks due to return in the New Year.

  • They are saying Cullen Grace impressed this year for Canterbury. Really? The bits I saw were quite underwhelming, but I did only see about three games.

  • Man Robertson comes across well, get him in the ABs

  • From the pdf posted in the general thread:


  • `Top 23 will be strong - something like:

    Moody, Taylor, Alaalatoa
    Barrett, Strange
    Blackadder, Harmon, Douglas
    Hall, Mo'unga
    Havili, Goodhue
    Bridge, Reece, Jordan

    Allan, Makalio, Bower, Romano, Sanders, Drummond, Cameron, Ennor

    Then some guys who I'd trust in the rotation Dunshea, Sione Havili, Enari, Mataele, Faingaánuku and probably Roots and even Paea.

    And then some development guys mainly from a pretty underwhelming Canterbury team who need to convince me:

    Jager, Tuúngafasi, McAlister, Christie, Grace, Burke, Finau, McLeod.

  • @Chris-B I think Tu'ungafasi has already had a few good shifts. I think it will be close between him and Allan.

    I think they'll continue rotating Ennor, Reece and Mataele (especially the last two). Tbh, I don't think there's much difference between Reece and Mataele; Mataele has just been very unlucky with injuries.

    I find, particularly, the signing of Burke and McLeod really, really weak. Haven't seen enough of Grace to form an opinion, but he didn't stand out for the NZU20s this year.
    Jager still has to convince me that he's up to SR level. Needs to stay injury free. This really should be his and Sanders' last year; if they break again, they should try to sign other players, next year.

  • @Stargazer Agree.

    I'm worried about our propping rotation. Not a lot behind Moody and Alaaatoa and both Blues and Chiefs both look stronger there to me. If Joe or Mike get injured I think we'll be exposed. Ollie Jager has never shown me anything to prove he's going to be the Jagermeister - for someone who's been there several years he's been a disappointment. Get in the gym Ollie and prove us wrong!

    Taylor and Makalio obviously fine as hookers.

    Locks are OK.

    There's enough talent in the loose forwards to find a good combo.

    Halfbacks are fine.

    If Richie gets broken we're in big trouble at first five. Let's hope that Cameron has improved with another NPC under his belt.

    Specialist second five looks weak - but, either Havili or Goodhue can move to play there - and we have good cover for them among Ennor, Paea, Jordan and Bridge. Just not ideal to shift David or Jack.

    And we've got lots of good wings.

    If we can stick mainly to our best 30 as listed above, we'll do OK. Not as strong as last year, but that's not surprising.

  • @chchfanatic So who was this mystery Saracens player that never eventuated?

  • Looks like they picked up a few players from the recent U20 side that was one of our worst ever.

  • Some concerns for me in this Squad

    Props Allen,Jager and Tu'ungafasi (Although he did go well when he got a chance last season)

    Happy with the Rest of the Forwards McAlister,Grace have some raw boned ability,Roots and Havalli great pick ups

    Burke,I don't see much there, we maybe in trouble if Mounga goes down injured

    Finau don't see him as up to SR level or Mcleod

    Rate Paea good pickup

  • Doesn't look as good a set of forwards as previous years. Don't think Razor will be breakdancing after the end of the Final this year.

  • @sparky I think the starting XV will be just as strong as last season, because the Crusaders played without their first choice players for large parts of the 2019 season (due to AB rest periods, extended breaks and injury). Their depth will be tested though, unlike before, because some of the new lads are pretty raw. But if anyone can get the best out of players, including rookies, it's Razor.

  • The key will be Mo'unga. I'm pretty sure that Razor hasn't lost a game when Mo'unga has started.

    Our forwards have been matched or bettered in a few games over the last couple of years but our backs have been the difference maker, and Mo'unga's clinical conversion of opportunities to points has been a massive part of that.

  • Well, colour me underwhelmed. With the forwards anyway, and in the five-eighths. I guess I was hoping hoping hoping there'd be a surprise or two sprung and we'd have some instant depth added at prop after losing Franks, Perry and Crockett in recent times, and find a truly big (tall and solid) lock to replace Whitelock, but we've come up short in both departments.

    There is definitely a depth issue at prop, so Jason Ryan will need to continue working his magic with the inexperienced group we have and hope we don't get exposed. Good experience at lock but Strange is the only guy over 2m, and he's not really a 'grunter'. Romano is a grunter but who knows how long his legs will last now. We could potentially field some relatively short locking combinations, but we might be able to add depth to our line-out by using Blackadder, Grace and Roots on the blindside.

    Depth at 10 is a big worry. Losing Mo'unga for any length of time could be disastrous if Cameron can't play better than he did vs NSW last season, and Burke's handful of good moments in the NPC were as outside back cover. I'd almost have picked up O'Malley from Tasman as another option. At 12 we have to either blood a rookie, one of whom spent most of the NPC on the wing, or work-up a combination between Ennor and Goodhue or Havili'i and Goodhue. A couple of times in the NPC I bemoaned on the boards what Maddock was doing with McLeod, Burke and also Sam Gilbert, specifically because it was so obvious they needed to be blooded properly in their preferred positions with an eye on Crusaders selection. And boom, here we are.

  • @shark After watching David Havili play at 10 for Tasman, I'm seriously wondering whether he should shift to 10 in case Mo'unga goes down with a serious injury, especially in the big games. I think his experience will help the decision-making that is so crucial at first five. On the other hand, he could also be valuable at 12 in those circumstances (telling Cameron what to do if things don't go well).

  • Leon MacDonald said on Radio Sport that they wanted Sione Havili, but he chose the Crusaders.

  • @shark I hope a lot of those young guys - Burke, McLeod, Finau, Grace have been mainly picked on development potential and we won't have to use them much this year. If we do, I think we'll be in trouble.

    I've seen Grace's name pop up here occasionally over the past few years as one to watch, so let's hope that comes true.

    The most exciting new signing that we didn't know about might be Fetuli Paea. I was very impressed with him for Tasman - though it's a decent jump to Super rugby - or, at least, it used to be.

    Seems to be a real scarcity of genuine second five options around NZ.

  • Interesting. I just got a notification on Facebook saying that the page "BNZ Crusaders" has changed its name to "Crusaders". Change of sponsors coming up?

  • @Stargazer crusaders rebranding comes out today. Something different but pretty good.

  • @Hooroo Comedy? Why? What's the meaning of this symbol?

  • @Hooroo yes that’s it. It’s supposed to symbolise the mountains and the sea. There’s obviously more behind it but I can’t remember all of it. There’s a couple of Maori words that I can’t remember

  • Hold it to a spotlight and you'll see the Bat signal

  • I like it

  • @Toddy I didn't make that association at all when I first saw that symbol, but I can see why some people will, although it's a bit far-fetched. If you look at something close enough, it will always look like something else or remind you of something.

    Anyway, I think it looks pretty good.

  • @Stargazer said in Crusaders 2020:

    @Hooroo Comedy? Why? What's the meaning of this symbol?

    C Crusaders = Comedy Crusaders. Is that not how they are marketing it?

    It looks rubbish!!!

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