Nelson product Leicester Faingaanuku is a surprise inclusion, named in the squad ahead of brother Tima Faingaanuku. The younger Faingaanuku was due to miss New Zealand’s under-20 Junior World Cup campaign, indicating he was due for Super Rugby selection.
Canterbury midfielder Ngane Punivai has also made the squad, with the highly-touted local Christs College star making his way through the ranks, as well as teammate Brett Cameron, who recently was picked in the 51-man All Blacks squad.
“We’re really excited about the new talent joining our back line this season,” coach Scott 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.”
There are also two elevations to full squad status in the forwards, with Whetu Douglas and Harry Allan named in the squad but having previously debuted for the Crusaders in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Crusaders 2019 Super Rugby Squad
Michael Alaalatoa, Harry Allan, Scott Barrett , Ethan Blackadder, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Mitchell Dunshea, Owen Franks , Ben Funnell, Billy Harmon, Oliver Jager, Andrew Makalio , Joe Moody, Tim Perry , Kieran Read, Luke Romano , Tom Sanders, Quinten Strange , Jordan Taufua, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd (vc), Sam Whitelock (c)
Tim Bateman, George Bridge, Brett Cameron, Ryan Crotty (vc), Israel Dagg, Mitchell Drummond, Ereatara Enari, Braydon Ennor, Leicester Faingaanuku, Jack Goodhue, Bryn Hall, David Havili, Mitchell Hunt, Will Jordan, Manasa Mataele, Richie Mo’unga, Ngane Punivai
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