31 Oct 2018

Five new names in Crusaders for title defence

10:58 am on 31 October 2018

There are five new faces in the defending champion Crusaders squad for next year's Super Rugby season.

Richie Mo'unga has enjoyed Super Rugby success with the Crusaders but All Blacks coach Steve Hasen warns international rugby is another kettle of fish.

Richie Mo'unga with Super Rugby trophy. Photo: Photosport

There are two new additions to the forwards with loosie Whetukamokamo Douglas returning to the side having played six times for the Crusaders during their 2017 season.

Following a stint with Italian club, Benetton, the former Waikato player returned to Christchurch for Canterbury's Mitre 10 Cup campaign where he was named as co-captain.

21-year-old prop Harry Allan has been named in the team for the first time, although he has two Super Rugby caps to his name already; Allan debuted for the Crusaders against the Sunwolves in 2018, and then played the Rebels in Melbourne.

Two Canterbury backs will also join the squad in Brett Cameron and Ngane Punivai.

Cameron is with the All Blacks wider training group in Japan this week.

Promising Tasman outside back, Leicester Faingaanuku, completes the 2019 squad.

Coach Scott Robertson believes they've got the mix right.

"Whetu was a popular member of our team in 2017, with fans and team mates alike, so we are thrilled to have him back in a Crusaders jersey. He was unlucky to miss part of the Canterbury season through injury but he'll come back ready for a big Super season in 2019. He's a genuine leader and a great team man," Robertson said.

"Harry is a strong, young front rower with plenty of potential. He's been in our environment before and that experience will set him up nicely for his first full Super Rugby season."

"We're really excited about the new talent joining our back line this season," Robertson said.

"Brett did a fantastic job steering Canterbury around the park during this year's Mitre 10 Cup, and was rewarded with a spot on the end of year tour as part of the All Blacks wider squad. He's a balanced No. 10 who possesses a good turn of speed and both his kicking out of hand and his goal-kicking are exceptional.

"Ngane is a great centre/wing option for us, his size and speed are huge assets. He's a smart player who makes good decisions and has an incredible work ethic.

"Leicester was an incredible age-group player and dominated through schools' rugby. His size and power are his greatest strengths, so it's no surprise he finds his way to the try line frequently. We know he'll take that potential and perform for us in a Crusaders jersey."

2019 Crusaders squad:


Michael Alaalatoa Tim Bateman

Harry Allan George Bridge

Scott Barrett Brett Cameron

Ethan Blackadder Ryan Crotty

Whetukamokamo Douglas Israel Dagg

Mitchell Dunshea Mitchell Drummond

Owen Franks Ereatara Enari

Ben Funnell Braydon Ennor

Billy Harmon Leicester Faingaanuku

Oliver Jager Jack Goodhue

Andrew Makalio Bryn Hall

Joe Moody David Havili

Tim Perry Mitchell Hunt

Kieran Read Will Jordan

Luke Romano Manasa Mataele

Tom Sanders Richie Mo'unga

Quinten Strange Ngane Punivai

Jordan Taufua

Codie Taylor

Matt Todd

Sam Whitelock