There is an aura of stability and confidence surrounding the 2018 Crusaders squad. When you have 13 current All Blacks in your squad, you must be fairly confident that you can continue where you left off last year, and then you look at the rest of the team and you see the likes of Jack Goodhue, Tim Perry and Richie Mo’unga who are still only on the fringe of the national team. That is awesome depth!
There is continuity in the coaches’ box too where Scott Robertson continues to run things. He has recruited Ronan O’Gara, the ex-Irish flyhalf, from Toulon’s coaching squad too.
The new players who have been brought into Robertson’s squad for the first time are Tasman’s Will Jordan, a fullback; and loose forward Ethan Blackadder (son of Todd); and Canterbury’s Billy Harmon, another loose forward; and Braydon Ennor, a wing. These are said to be players of real quality who have come through the Crusaders system.
The squad of backs looks especially potent, with huge depth out wide. Think of Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, George Bridge, Manasa Mataele, Jone Macilai, and David Havili and you have some pretty fine finishers out there.
And then there is that battle-hardened contingent of forwards: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Matt Todd, Ben Funnell, Kieran Read……..
We are told that Kieran Read will miss a chunk of the Super Season as he has elected to have some very necessary surgery done. With the depth in this squad, they will not really miss him!
The Crusaders Squad for 2018 is:
Forwards: Ben Funnell, Andrew Makalio, Codie Taylor, Mike Alaalatoa, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Oliver Jager, Joe Moody, Tim Perry, Scott Barrett, Mitchell Dunshea, Luke Romano, Quinten Strange, Sam Whitelock, Ethan Blackadder, Billy Harmon, Kieran Read, Tom Sanders, Pete Samu, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd
Backs: Mitchell Drummond, Bryn Hall, Jack Stratton, Mike Delany, Mitchell Hunt, Richie Mo’unga, Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Braydon Ennor, George Bridge, Israel Dagg, David Havili, Will Jordan, Jone Macilai, Manasa Mataele, Seta Tamanivalu
Ethan Blackadder (Tasman)
Mike Delany (Bay of Plenty)
Braydon Ennor (Canterbury)
Billy Harmon (Canterbury)
Will Jordan (Tasman)
Tom Sanders (Chiefs)
Jack Stratton (Canterbury)
Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Manawatu)
Jed Brown (Canterbury)
Whetu Douglas (Treviso)
Sione Fifita (Counties Manukau)
Vernon Fredericks (Tasman)
Leon Fukofuka (Auckland)
Digby Ioane (Wild Knights)
Marty McKenzie (Chiefs)
Sean Wainui (Taranaki)