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Crusaders begin new era with ambitious 2024 squad

By Ned Lester
Scott Barrett of the Crusaders holds the Super Rugby Pacific trophy after winning the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Final match between the Blues and the Crusaders at Eden Park on June 18, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Three teams have rebuilt their coaching staff as well as playing group in Super Rugby Pacific for 2024, but the Crusaders are undeniably turning over the biggest leaf as they move on from what has been an historically successful regime under Scott Robertson.


The man affectionately nicknamed “Razor” moves on to the All Blacks job and takes with him the exceptional rugby mind of Scott Hansen, while Jason Ryan exited the club a month after the 2o22 Super Rugby season’s conclusion.

In steps Rob Penney, a man tasked with succeeding a dynasty.

Richie Mo’unga, Sam Whitelock, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Jack Goodhue and Sione Havili Talitui all head to the departure lounge while Braydon Ennor is absent from the squad list after rupturing his ACL.

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Nine players are new to the club for the upcoming season, with the most notable acquisition of course being Welsh legend Leigh Halfpenny.

Halfpenny sparked rumours this week as he expressed an open interest in the No 10 jersey vacated by Mo’unga, although emphasised he is very much a fullback at heart.

Penney shut down the chat over any potential shift, and also denied any likelihood of seeing David Havili move into first five-eighth.

“It’s a great opportunity for someone to put their hand up,” he said. “Taha (Kemara) has been here for a season now and is a very talented individual, and Rivez (Reihana) matured and led Northland around really effectively.


“Neither of them have had a great deal of experience at Super yet, and it’s really important for people around them to take the heat off them and let them do their thing.”

The squad tours Europe in January, playing Munster and the Bristol Bears before kicking off the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season on February 23.

Codie Taylor will be away from the team for the majority of the 2024 season as the veteran All Black enjoys a hard-earned break from the game. The non-playing sabbatical will see Taylor return before the end of the regular season. In his absence, George Bell has the opportunity to stake his claim for higher honours after being named injury reserve for the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup campaign.


Crusaders squad for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season

Codie Taylor
Brodie McAlister
George Bell
Ioane Moananu
Joe Moody
Finlay Brewis
George Bower
Tamaiti Williams
Fletcher Newell
Scott Barrett (capt)
Quinten Strange
Tahlor Cahill
Zach Gallagher
Jamie Hannah
Ethan Blackadder
Cullen Grace
Tom Christie
Christian Lio-Willie
Corey Kellow
Dominic Gardiner
Noah Hotham
Mitchell Drummond
Willi Heinz
Fergus Burke
Taha Kemara
Rivez Reihana
David Havili
Dallas McLeod
Levi Aumua
Ryan Crotty
Jone Rova
Will Jordan
Sevu Reece
Macca Springer
Manasa Mataele
Chay Fihaki
Leigh Halfpenny
Heremaia Murray


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1 Comment
Timgrugpass 219 days ago

Among others, all eyes on Levi Aumua to see if he can step up to Crusader consistency, & pressure of, in 2024 with his 2023 standard. I assume / hope so … & therefor hoping for even more beyond, ie ABs.

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