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The Crusaders are a New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 professional rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 team based in Christchurch
Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second-largest urban area after Auckland. It lies one third of the way down the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of...

 that competes in the Super Rugby competition. They are the most successful team in Super Rugby history with seven titles (1998
1998 Super 12 season
The 1998 Super 12 season was the third season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 1998, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals,...

, 1999
1999 Super 12 season
The 1999 Super 12 season was the fourth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 1999, with each team playing all the others once...

, 2000
2000 Super 12 season
The 2000 Super 12 season was the fifth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2000, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals,...

, 2002
2002 Super 12 season
The 2002 Super 12 season was the seventh season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2002, with each team playing all the others once...

, 2005
2005 Super 12 season
The 2005 Super 12 season was the tenth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2005, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals,...

, 2006
2006 Super 14 season
The 2006 Super 14 season started on Friday 10 February 2006. The Grand Final was held on Saturday 27 May 2006. Super 14 is a provincial rugby union competition with 14 teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. This season was the first of the expansion, which saw two new teams, the...

 and 2008
2008 Super 14 season
The 2008 Super 14 season started in February 2008 with pre-season matches held from mid-January. It finished on 31 May, when the Crusaders won their seventh Super Rugby title with a 20–12 victory over the Waratahs in front of the Crusaders' home fans. The 2008 season was the third of the expansion,...

). The franchise represents the Buller
Buller Rugby Football Union
The Buller Rugby Union is a rugby province based in the town of Westport, New Zealand. The Buller provincial boundary also includes other notable towns such as Reefton, Karamea, Granity, Charleston, Punakaiki and Murchison .-History:Buller was formed in 1894...

, Canterbury
Canterbury Rugby Football Union
The Canterbury Rugby Football Union is the governing body for rugby union in a substantial part of the Canterbury region, in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand...

, Mid-Canterbury
Mid Canterbury Rugby Football Union
The Mid Canterbury Rugby Football Union is a rugby province in the South Island of New Zealand.-History:The Mid Canterbury Rugby Football Union was formed in 1904 as Ashburton Country when it broke away from the Canterbury Rugby Football Union...

, South Canterbury
South Canterbury Rugby Football Union
The South Canterbury Rugby Football Union is a rugby province based in the central South Island city of Timaru, New Zealand. The South Canterbury team play from Alpine Energy Stadium located in Timaru.-History:...

, Tasman
Tasman Rugby Union
The Tasman Rugby Union is the governing body for rugby union at the top of the South Island in New Zealand. It is New Zealand's newest provincial union, founded in 2006 with the amalgamation of the existing Marlborough and Nelson Bays sub unions...

 and West Coast
West Coast Rugby Football Union
The West Coast Rugby Football Union, formed in 1890, is the official governing body for rugby union in a substantial part of the West Coast region of New Zealand and is affiliated to the New Zealand Rugby Union. The team is based in Greymouth and plays home matches at Rugby Park....

 provincial Rugby Unions. Their main home ground is AMI Stadium, formerly known as Jade Stadium and before that, Lancaster Park.

Formed in 1996 to represent the upper South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

 of New Zealand in the Super 12, the Crusaders struggled in their first season and finished last. Their performance improved in 1997 and the team finished sixth (out of twelve teams). The team went on to win all three titles from 1998 to 2000 despite each final being played away from home. They again won the competition in 2002 after going through the season unbeaten. In the following two seasons, they again reached the final, although they were beaten on both occasions. 2005 was the last season of the Super 12 before its expansion. After finishing top of the table in that season, the Crusaders went on to host the final in which they defeated the Waratahs
New South Wales Waratahs
The New South Wales Waratahs are an Australian rugby union football team, representing the majority of New South Wales in the Super 15 Super Rugby competition...

. As a result of winning their fifth Super 12 title, the Crusaders were given the trophy to keep. In 2006, the Crusaders hosted the Hurricanes
Hurricanes (Super rugby franchise)
The Hurricanes are a New Zealand professional Rugby union team based in Wellington that competes in the Super Rugby competition...

 in the inaugural Super 14 final
2006 Super 14 Final
The Final of the 2006 Super 14 season, a rugby union competition in the Southern Hemisphere, took place on May 27, 2006 at Jade Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand. The match was won by the Crusaders 19 points to 12 over the visiting Wellington-based side, the Hurricanes...

 and won 19–12. In 2008 the Crusaders hosted the final at AMI Stadium against the Waratahs, and won the match 20–12 to claim their seventh title.

In addition to winning more Super Rugby titles than any other team, the franchise also holds several competition records, including most points in a game and most tries
Try
A try is the major way of scoring points in rugby league and rugby union football. A try is scored by grounding the ball in the opposition's in-goal area...

 in a game, both achieved in their 96–19 victory over the Waratahs in 2002. Ironically the Crusaders also hold the record for the least points scored in a game when they were defeated by the Highlanders 6–0 in 2009. They have also scored the most points (541) and most tries (71) in one season, both achieved in 2005. Individual players also hold records: Andrew Mehrtens
Andrew Mehrtens
Andrew Philip Mehrtens MNZM is a New Zealand rugby union footballer, currently playing in France for Béziers, a club in the third-level Fédérale 1 league...

 for most points in a Super 12 season (206 in 1998), and Rico Gear
Rico Gear
Rico Levi Gear is a New Zealand rugby union international player. He is a specialist right wing but can also cover midfield positions. He currently plays for Kintetsu Liners in the Top League....

 for most tries in a season (15 in 2005). Six players have played over 100 games for the franchise: Justin Marshall
Justin Marshall
Justin Warren Marshall, MNZM is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. He was born in Mataura and educated in Gore before settling in Christchurch. Marshall played 81 games for the New Zealand All Blacks between 1995 and 2005...

, Reuben Thorne
Reuben Thorne
Reuben David Thorne is a New Zealand rugby union player, and former captain of the national team, the All Blacks.-Super 12:...

, Caleb Ralph
Caleb Ralph
Caleb Stan Ralph is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. Ralph began his first-class career with Bay of Plenty, then moved to Auckland before heading to Canterbury. He started his Super Rugby career with the Chiefs in 1997, Blues , Crusaders and a cameo role with the Queensland Reds...

, Greg Somerville
Greg Somerville
Greg Mardon Somerville is a New Zealand rugby union player. He is a former All Black and a specialised tighthead prop who can also play loosehead. Somerville made his All Black debut in 2000 against Tonga, a match in which the All Blacks won 102–0...

, Leon MacDonald
Leon MacDonald
Leon Raymond MacDonald is a retired New Zealand rugby union footballer, and now assistant coach for the Tasman Makos rugby team, who played 56 tests for the national team, All Blacks. He plays first five-eighths and fullback.-Biography:MacDonald was born in Blenheim, New Zealand, and attended...

, Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw
Richard Hugh "Richie" McCaw is a New Zealand rugby union player, and is the current test captain. He plays in the openside flanker position for the New Zealand, Crusaders and Canterbury rugby teams...

 and Chris Jack
Chris Jack
Christopher Raymond Jack is a New Zealand rugby union footballer who plays as a lock. He has played for Canterbury and the Tasman Makos in the National Provincial Championship and its successor, the Air New Zealand Cup; the Crusaders in Super Rugby; Saracens in the Guinness Premiership; and...

. They also have two International Rugby Board
International Rugby Board
The International Rugby Board is the governing body for the sport of rugby union. It was founded in 1886 as the International Rugby Football Board by the unions of Scotland, Wales and Ireland. England refused to join until 1890. The International Rugby Football Board changed its name to the...

 Players of the Year: Dan Carter (2005), and Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw
Richard Hugh "Richie" McCaw is a New Zealand rugby union player, and is the current test captain. He plays in the openside flanker position for the New Zealand, Crusaders and Canterbury rugby teams...

 (2006), (2009) and (2010).

Beginnings: 1996 and 1997


The Crusaders' franchise was created as one of five New Zealand teams in the Super 12. Originally named the Canterbury Crusaders, the Crusaders' franchise area encompassed the upper South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

 of New Zealand (see Super 14 franchise areas), and was formed from the Buller, Canterbury, Marlborough
Marlborough Rugby Union
Marlborough Rugby Union was a New Zealand rugby union team that played from 1888-2005.Marlborough was founded in 1888 and played at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim.-Championships:...

, Mid-Canterbury, Nelson Bays
Nelson Bays Rugby Union
Nelson Bays Rugby Union was a New Zealand rugby union team that played from 1968-2005.Nelson Bays was founded in 1968 when Nelson merged with Golden Bay-Motueka and played until 2005 when they joined with Marlborough to become Tasman Rugby Union in 2006....

, South Canterbury, and West Coast rugby unions. The original Crusaders team of 1996 was captained by All Blacks
All Blacks
The New Zealand men's national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks, represent New Zealand in what is regarded as its national sport....

 prop Richard Loe
Richard Loe
Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black prop forward, with a reputation for thuggery on the pitch - often referred to as 'The Enforcer' by his team mates...

 and coached by Vance Stewart. The Crusaders struggled in the inaugural season and finished bottom of the table with only two wins. Their eight losses included a 49–18 loss to the Blues
Blues (rugby team)
Blues are a professional New Zealand rugby union team based in Auckland, New Zealand which represents the Northland, North Harbour and Auckland unions in the Super Rugby competition. Like New Zealand's four other Super Rugby sides, the Blues were established by the NZRU in 1996...

 and a 52–16 loss to the Queensland Reds
Queensland Reds
The Queensland Reds represent Queensland in the sport of rugby union in the Southern Hemisphere Super Rugby competition. Prior to 1996 they were a representative team selected on merit from the rugby union club competitions in Queensland...

.

The following season saw a change in captain and coach, with Todd Blackadder
Todd Blackadder
Todd Julian Blackadder is a former professional New Zealand rugby union player and professional rugby coach. He served as Director of Rugby for the Tasman Rugby Union before being appointed to succeed Robbie Deans as coach of Super 14 team the Crusaders...

 succeeding Loe as captain and Wayne Smith
Wayne Smith (rugby player)
Wayne Ross Smith is a former rugby union footballer, and currently a rugby union coach. He is currently the backs coach for New Zealand's national rugby union team the All Blacks. He played provincial rugby for Canterbury and became an All Black in 1980. He played first five-eighth, gaining 35...

 taking over as coach. With five wins, the team finished the round-robin stage in sixth place. The improvement was particularly illustrated by the Crusaders' 29–28 loss to the defending champions, the Blues, which contrasted with their 49–18 loss the previous season. (The Blues also went on to win the 1997 title). During this loss, Leon MacDonald
Leon MacDonald
Leon Raymond MacDonald is a retired New Zealand rugby union footballer, and now assistant coach for the Tasman Makos rugby team, who played 56 tests for the national team, All Blacks. He plays first five-eighths and fullback.-Biography:MacDonald was born in Blenheim, New Zealand, and attended...

 was taken out with a shoulder charge by Robin Brooke. While the Crusaders attempted to get MacDonald back on the field, the Blues scored two tries, including one by Brooke, who was later suspended for two weeks for the shoulder charge. In their last game of 1997, the Crusaders beat the Queensland Reds 48–3 at Lancaster Park, now known as AMI Stadium.

Hat trick: 1998 to 2000


The Crusaders won their first title in 1998, despite starting the season with three losses in their first four games. They finished the round-robin
Round-robin tournament
A round-robin tournament is a competition "in which each contestant meets all other contestants in turn".-Terminology:...

 by winning their last seven games, culminating in a last-round win over the Coastal Sharks (now the Sharks
Natal Sharks
The Natal Sharks are a South African rugby union team that participate in the annual Currie Cup and Super Rugby tournaments. The Sharks home stadium is Kings Park. They draw most of their players from the KwaZulu-Natal Province. The Sharks are the current representative team of the Natal rugby...

) that gave them second place in the round-robin phase of the competition. Their second-placing allowed them to host their semi-final at Lancaster Park, where they won the match 36–32 against the Coastal Sharks.

In the final at Eden Park
Eden Park
Eden Park is the biggest stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. It is used primarily for rugby union in winter and cricket in summer . The ground also occasionally hostts rugby league matches. To accommodate all three sports, the cricket pitch is removable...

, the Crusaders faced the Blues, who were heavy favourites. According to Crusaders' hooker Mark Hammett
Mark Hammett
Mark Garry Hammett is a rugby union coach and former New Zealand rugby union player. Hammett played provincial rugby for Canterbury, as a hooker, between 1992 and 2002. When the Crusaders franchise was formed for the Super 12 in 1996, Hammett was contracted, becoming a founding player...

, "If we'd been polled in that week, and had to give an honest answer, most of the boys, deep down, would probably have thought that the Blues would beat us." The Crusaders were ahead 3–0 at half time, but the Blues scored first after half time to take a 10–3 lead after 53 minutes. After Crusader Norm Maxwell
Norm Maxwell
Norman Michael Clifford Maxwell is a New Zealand rugby union player. His usual position is at lock. He is 1.98m tall and weighs 106 kg. He played for Canterbury in the NPC and he also represented Crusaders in the Super 12 rugby competition...

 scored a try, the game was tied 10 all. Then, after a penalty
Penalty (rugby)
In rugby football, the penalty is the main disciplinary sanction available to the referee to penalise players who commit deliberate infringements. The team who did not commit the infringement are given possession of the ball and may either kick it towards touch , attempt a place kick at goal, or...

 each, the two teams were tied 13 all with one minute of regulation time remaining. At that moment, Andrew Mehrtens chipped the ball for James Kerr to run onto and score, giving the Crusaders a 20–13 win after the try was converted. The ten points scored by Andrew Mehrtens in the final contributed to his total of 206 points for the season − a record for the Super 12. Upon the Crusaders' return to Christchurch, they were given a parade through the city that drew 100,000 people.
The 1999 season was equally successful for the Crusaders despite struggling to make the play-offs in fourth place after winning their last four round-robin matches. They defeated the favoured Queensland Reds (who had finished top in the round-robin) in their semi-final to advance to the final against the Otago Highlanders (since renamed the Highlanders). The all-South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

 final in Dunedin was promoted as "the party at Tony Brown's house" after Highlanders first five-eighths Tony Brown
Tony Brown (rugby player)
Tony Eion Brown is a New Zealand rugby union footballer, playing mainly at first five-eighth .-Early life:...

. Again playing away from home, the Crusaders won 24–19. The decisive try of the match was scored by Crusaders winger Afato So'oalo when he chipped the ball, then out-sprinted All Blacks winger Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson (sportsman)
-Cricket career:Wilson played his provincial cricket for Otago, as an all-rounder - both a hard-hitting batsman and a right-arm fast-medium pace bowler. His international appearances were in four games of a One Day Internationals series against Australia in the 1992-93 season, and again in an ODI...

 to collect the ball and score.

Following the All Blacks' semi-final loss in the 1999 Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

, Wayne Smith
Wayne Smith
Wayne Smith may refer to:* Wayne Smith , Australian politician* Wayne Smith , Jamaican Reggae musician* Wayne Smith , hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL...

 succeeded John Hart
John Hart (rugby coach)
John Bernard Hart, ONZM was a New Zealand rugby union coach, mainly for Auckland and the All Blacks. After many years in business, during which he rose to become Group Employee Relations Director for Fletcher Challenge, then New Zealand's largest company, John Hart began his first class coaching...

 as All Blacks coach. Crusaders manager Robbie Deans
Robbie Deans
Robert Maxwell Deans is the current coach of the Wallabies and former All Black. He is the former coach of the Crusaders. He also served as assistant to former All Blacks coach John Mitchell between late 2001 and 2003...

 replaced Smith as Crusaders coach. In Deans' first year in charge, the Crusaders won their third title in a row − a feat that has not since been repeated. The Crusaders finished second in the round-robin, earning them the right to host a semi-final in which they faced the Highlanders at Jade Stadium. Two tries in the final 20 minutes by Marika Vunibaka
Marika Vunibaka
Marika "Dawainavesi" Vunibaka is a Fijian rugby union footballer. He has represented the national team on numerous occasions, including at the 1999 Rugby World Cup in Wales and the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia....

 helped the Crusaders to a 37–15 win. The 2000 Super 12 Final was played against the Brumbies
Brumbies Rugby
The Brumbies are a Super 15 rugby union team based in Canberra, Australia and named for the wild horses which inhabit Canberra's hinterland...

 in Canberra, Australia, where the weather for the final was icy, with sleet and snow. The game was low-scoring, with only one try each. Four penalties by Mehrtens gave the Crusaders a 12–6 half time lead. Following a Brumbies penalty four minutes from time, the Brumbies led 19–17. However, the Crusaders were awarded a penalty from the resulting kick-off, and after Mehrtens converted the penalty, the Crusaders went on to win the game 20–19.

Development of a legacy: 2001 to 2005



After winning three consecutive Super 12 titles, the Crusaders finished tenth in 2001 — their worst finish since 1996. The season was the last for captain Todd Blackadder before he left to play for Edinburgh in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

.

The Crusaders bounced back dramatically in 2002 when they went through the Super 12 season unbeaten, achieving their fourth title. Although the Crusaders won all eleven of their round-robin matches, six of them were won by a margin of seven points or less. Their eleven round-robin games also included a record 96–19 win over the Waratahs in the final match of the round-robin stage, which was especially noteworthy given that both teams finished at the top of the table.

The Crusaders met the Highlanders in their 2002 semi-final, which they eventually won 34–23 after being ahead 18-6 at half time. The following week, they faced the Brumbies in the first final to be hosted at Jade Stadium. The Brumbies trailed 11–3 after the first half, having had only 30 per cent possession. Although the Brumbies closed the gap to 14–13 with eight minutes to go, the Crusaders held on and steadied to win 31–13 with a last-minute try to Caleb Ralph
Caleb Ralph
Caleb Stan Ralph is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. Ralph began his first-class career with Bay of Plenty, then moved to Auckland before heading to Canterbury. He started his Super Rugby career with the Chiefs in 1997, Blues , Crusaders and a cameo role with the Queensland Reds...

. The season was their first under the captaincy of Reuben Thorne
Reuben Thorne
Reuben David Thorne is a New Zealand rugby union player, and former captain of the national team, the All Blacks.-Super 12:...

, who went on to captain the All Blacks until the end of the 2003 Rugby World Cup
2003 Rugby World Cup
The 2003 Rugby World Cup was the fifth Rugby World Cup and was won by England. Originally planned to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, all games were shifted to Australia following a contractual dispute over ground signage rights between the New Zealand Rugby Football Union and Rugby World...

.

The Crusaders' winning run finally came to an end when they were beaten 39–5 by the Blues in the third round of the 2003 Super 12 season. Although their 15-match unbeaten streak had ended, Richie McCaw said of the loss, "...in some ways it was almost a relief. We'd finally been beaten, the run was over, so people could stop talking about it and we could get on with playing it week by week." The Crusaders recovered to finish second on the table with eight wins. They hosted a semi-final against the Hurricanes, who were coached by Colin Cooper, a former assistant coach for the Crusaders. Despite this inside knowledge of the team by the Wellington coach, the Crusaders won the match 39–16. In the final, the Crusaders met the Blues, another team coached by a former Crusaders assistant coach, Peter Sloane
Peter Sloane
Peter Sloane is a New Zealand rugby coach and former player. He played for Northland from 1972–1983, and made fifteen appearances for the All Blacks, including one test match, between 1973 and 1979...

. Hooker Mark Hammett
Mark Hammett
Mark Garry Hammett is a rugby union coach and former New Zealand rugby union player. Hammett played provincial rugby for Canterbury, as a hooker, between 1992 and 2002. When the Crusaders franchise was formed for the Super 12 in 1996, Hammett was contracted, becoming a founding player...

 scored two tries to give the Crusaders a 10–6 lead at half-time. The Blues hit back to lead 21–10 with ten minutes to go. The Crusaders managed another converted try, but it was not enough, and the Blues won 21–17.

The Crusaders' 2004 season began with two losses: first to the Waratahs, then to the Blues. They recovered to again finish second on the table with seven wins. They played the Stormers at Jade Stadium in their semi-final, and won 27–16. They met the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium
Canberra Stadium
Canberra Stadium is a facility primarily used for rugby league and rugby union games, located adjacent to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, the capital of Australia...

 in a replay of the 2000 final. The Brumbies dominated in the final, scoring 33 unanswered points in the first 19 minutes. The Crusaders managed to salvage some pride by narrowing the loss to a 47–38 finish.

The 2005 season started with a repeat of the previous year’s final: a Brumbies victory over the Crusaders in Canberra. There was a win the following week at home over the Chiefs
Chiefs (Super rugby franchise)
The Chiefs are a professional Rugby union team based in Hamilton, New Zealand. Their home ground is Waikato Stadium. The Chiefs play in black, red and yellow coloured jerseys...

, followed by a win over the Reds at Trafalgar Park
Trafalgar Park, Nelson
Trafalgar Park is a large sports ground within the heart of the city of Nelson, in New Zealand's South Island. The stadium now has a capacity of 20,080, following upgrades completed for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. It takes its name from the Battle of Trafalgar.It is one of the home grounds for Air...

. Although there was a 35–20 loss to the Bulls after Crusaders captain Richie McCaw was knocked unconscious, they eventually finished the regular season top of the table. McCaw returned from his five weeks on the sideline to lead the Crusaders in their semifinal victory over the Hurricanes. They faced the Waratahs in the final at Jade Stadium.
Leading 14–6 at halftime, the Crusaders then moved out to a 29-point lead. Despite three late tries by the Waratahs, the Crusaders won their fifth title with a 35–20 win.

As a reward for their seventh finals appearance and fifth title, the Crusaders were allowed to keep the Super 12 trophy. After the 2005 season, the franchise saw the departure of stalwarts Andrew Mehrtens
Andrew Mehrtens
Andrew Philip Mehrtens MNZM is a New Zealand rugby union footballer, currently playing in France for Béziers, a club in the third-level Fédérale 1 league...

 and Justin Marshall
Justin Marshall
Justin Warren Marshall, MNZM is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. He was born in Mataura and educated in Gore before settling in Christchurch. Marshall played 81 games for the New Zealand All Blacks between 1995 and 2005...

, both of whom had played for the team since its formation in 1996.

Super 14: 2006 to 2010




In 2006, the Super 12 expanded to form the Super 14 when the Western Force
Western Force
Western Force is a rugby union team based in Perth, Western Australia playing in the international Super Rugby competition. They first competed in the 2006 season and finished with the wooden spoon in that year, however their performances greatly improved in 2007. In 2008 they finished in 8th...

 from Perth
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and the Central Cheetahs
Central Cheetahs
The Central Cheetahs, known for sponsorship reasons as the Toyota Cheetahs, is a South African rugby union team that entered the Super Rugby competition in 2006. The franchise area encompasses the Free State and Northern Cape. In terms of Currie Cup unions, the Cheetahs draw from Free State...

 from the Free State and Northern Cape Provinces, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 joined the competition. An unbeaten run of sixteen matches was nearly halted when the Crusaders drew with the Western Force in Perth in round eleven. The following week, the unbeaten run was ended when the Crusaders lost to the Stormers in Cape Town. That loss was their only one of the year, as they finished top of the table with eleven wins. After beating the Bulls in their semi-final, the Crusaders faced the Hurricanes in the final at Jade Stadium that was played in a thick fog, causing poor visibility. Sections of the crowd could not see the field, and many spectators left during the match. The scorers were tied 9–9 going into the game’s last 20 minutes. The Crusaders' Casey Laulala
Casey Laulala
Casey Laulala is a New Zealand rugby union player.He attended Woodhouse Grove School in the sixth form on a scholarship.-Career:...

 then scored the game’s only try before the match finished 19–12.

In the 2007 Super 14 season, seven Crusaders players missed the first seven rounds of the competition to participate in an All Black "conditioning programme". The conditioning programme was part of the All Blacks' 2007 Rugby World Cup
2007 Rugby World Cup
The 2007 Rugby World Cup was the sixth Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. Twenty nations competed for the Webb Ellis Cup in the tournament, which was hosted by France from 7 September to 20 October. France won the hosting rights in 2003,...

 preparations; 22 players were selected for the programme. The Crusaders' seven players in the programme was more than any other New Zealand Super 14 franchise. The Crusaders players were Chris Jack
Chris Jack
Christopher Raymond Jack is a New Zealand rugby union footballer who plays as a lock. He has played for Canterbury and the Tasman Makos in the National Provincial Championship and its successor, the Air New Zealand Cup; the Crusaders in Super Rugby; Saracens in the Guinness Premiership; and...

, Richie McCaw, Greg Somerville, Reuben Thorne, Dan Carter, Leon MacDonald, and Aaron Mauger
Aaron Mauger
Aaron Joseph Douglas Mauger is a former rugby union player who played at centre for Leicester Tigers. He previously played first five-eighths and second five-eighths for Canterbury , the Crusaders and the New Zealand All Blacks...

. All but one of the seven returned to play for the Crusaders in their eighth round match against the Stormers (Greg Somerville did not return due to injury). The Crusaders climbed to second on the table before defeating the Western Force
Western Force
Western Force is a rugby union team based in Perth, Western Australia playing in the international Super Rugby competition. They first competed in the 2006 season and finished with the wooden spoon in that year, however their performances greatly improved in 2007. In 2008 they finished in 8th...

 53−0 at Jade Stadium in the tenth round. The victory over the Force was the one hundredth Super rugby win for the Crusaders - the first franchise to reach the milestone.

The Crusaders were top of the table going into the last round of the Super 14 before the play-offs. In order to guarantee a home semi-final they needed to defeat the Chiefs at Jade Stadium. The Chiefs won 30–24 – and ended the Crusaders 26 game winning streak at home. As the Bulls defeated the Reds 92–3 in the same round, they overtook the Crusaders to finish second in the round robin. The Crusaders then traveled to Pretoria to face the Bulls in their semi-final where they lost 27–12.

The 2008 season was another highly successful one for the Crusaders.
After finishing top of the table at the end of the last round, they comfortably defeated the Hurricanes 33–22 in the semi-final, and went on to beat the Waratahs in the final 20–12. It was a fitting way to send off long-serving coach Robbie Deans before he departed to coach Australia
Australia national rugby union team
The Australian national rugby union team is the representative side of Australia in rugby union. The national team is nicknamed the Wallabies and competes annually with New Zealand and South Africa in the Tri-Nations Series, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with New Zealand and the...

. It was also the last game for Crusaders stalwarts Caleb Ralph and former captain Reuben Thorne. In July that year former captain Todd Blackadder
Todd Blackadder
Todd Julian Blackadder is a former professional New Zealand rugby union player and professional rugby coach. He served as Director of Rugby for the Tasman Rugby Union before being appointed to succeed Robbie Deans as coach of Super 14 team the Crusaders...

 was appointed Crusaders coach, and his former teammates Mark Hammett
Mark Hammett
Mark Garry Hammett is a rugby union coach and former New Zealand rugby union player. Hammett played provincial rugby for Canterbury, as a hooker, between 1992 and 2002. When the Crusaders franchise was formed for the Super 12 in 1996, Hammett was contracted, becoming a founding player...

 and Daryl Gibson
Daryl Gibson
Daryl Peter Earl Gibson is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer who played inside centre for Canterbury Crusaders in the southern hemisphere and Bristol Shoguns, Leicester Tigers and Glasgow Warriors in the northern hemisphere...

 were appointed as assistants.

The 2009 season started with a sole win and a draw from the Crusaders' first five matches; this included a 6—0 loss to the Highlanders. The side found its feet later in the season, and won key away games which ultimately saw them finish in fourth place on the table — just ahead of the Waratahs. Both the Crusaders and Waratahs finished the season with 41 competition points, but the Crusaders advanced through to the semi-finals due to a greater 'points for and against' difference.

The Crusaders lost their semi-final to the Bulls
Bulls (rugby franchise)
The Bulls, for sponsorship reasons known as the Vodacom Bulls, are a South African rugby union team competing in the Super Rugby competition. They are based in Pretoria and play their home matches at Loftus Versfeld...

 36–23 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

 in front of a capacity 52,000 crowd. The Bulls went on to win the 2009 Super 14 title beating the Chiefs 61–17. Statistically, the Crusaders had the best defensive record of the 2009 competition — conceding just 198 points. However, points for, and total tries scored was the second lowest in the competition with just 231 points and 27 tries.

In 2010 the Crusaders had a very good start to the season before a poor finish with three losses in four games caused them to have to travel to Orlando Stadium
Orlando Stadium
Orlando Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, in Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. The stadium was originally built in 1959, at a cost of £37,500, with a capacity of 24,000....

, Soweto
Soweto
Soweto is a lower-class-populated urban area of the city of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa, bordering the city's mining belt in the south. Its name is an English syllabic abbreviation for South Western Townships...

 to face the Bulls
Bulls (rugby franchise)
The Bulls, for sponsorship reasons known as the Vodacom Bulls, are a South African rugby union team competing in the Super Rugby competition. They are based in Pretoria and play their home matches at Loftus Versfeld...

. They lost the semifinal 39–24.

New era: 2011 to present


The 2011 season had a minor hiccup at the very beginning with a two point loss to the Blues. Their second round match against the Hurricanes was cancelled, and match declared a draw after the Christchurch Earthquake on 22 February which caused 182 deaths. In their first match after the earthquake they played the Waratahs
New South Wales Waratahs
The New South Wales Waratahs are an Australian rugby union football team, representing the majority of New South Wales in the Super 15 Super Rugby competition...

, a team that had only conceded six points in their previous two games. The Crusaders triumphed 33–18 in a convincing display in front of a sold-out stadium. They next played the Brumbies and brushed them aside in a 52–10 demolition. They next played the Highlanders who had previously only lost one match in the season, to the undefeated and table-topping Stormers
Stormers
The Stormers, for sponsorship reasons referred to as DHL Stormers, are a South African rugby union team based in Cape Town competing in the Super Rugby competition . Despite their lack of silverware over the years, their home stadium, Newlands, typically draws the highest average attendance figures...

. The Crusaders won comfortably 44–13 in Dunedin. The next team they played, the Sharks, had like the Highlanders previously only lost one match in the season before the Crusaders won 44–28 at Twickenham
Twickenham Stadium
Twickenham Stadium is a stadium located in Twickenham, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is the largest rugby union stadium in the United Kingdom and has recently been enlarged to seat 82,000...

 for a one off match due to earthquake damage at their own ground. They played the second match in Timaru Alpine Stadium against the Bulls in a sell out crowd winning 27–0. Round 9 they played the Chiefs in Mt Maunganui and gained four trys winning 34–16 with Richie McCaw returning after eight weeks off with injury. The Crusaders lost the inaugural Super Rugby final in Suncorp Stadium to the Queensland Reds
Queensland Reds
The Queensland Reds represent Queensland in the sport of rugby union in the Southern Hemisphere Super Rugby competition. Prior to 1996 they were a representative team selected on merit from the rugby union club competitions in Queensland...

. Will Genia scored a crucial try for the Reds to help them to a 18–13 win.

Name and colours



The Crusaders' name was chosen to reflect the crusading nature of Canterbury rugby. A potential name was also the Plainsmen; however, this was not chosen, as "Crusaders" recalled the English heritage of the city of Christchurch. Christchurch was established by English emigrants
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 in the 19th century and is often described as the most English city outside of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. The franchise adopted Canterbury's traditional sporting colours of red and black, as worn by the Canterbury provincial rugby team.

Franchise area



The Crusaders' franchise area consists of the regions controlled by the Buller, Canterbury, Mid-Canterbury, South Canterbury, Tasman and West Coast rugby unions. Like all New Zealand Super Rugby sides, the Crusaders are able to protect 24 players from within their franchise area each season. They then must go to the draft (which consists of New Zealand-based players not protected by any of the five Super 14 franchises) to fill their squad.

Before 2006, when the domestic National Provincial Championship
National Provincial Championship
The National Provincial Championship, or NPC, is the major domestic rugby competition in New Zealand. The NPC has seen many alterations to its format and brand. Since 2006 the National Championship has been split into 2 competitions, the ITM Cup and the Heartland Championship...

 was reorganised, Canterbury was the only provincial union playing division one (now ITM Cup) within the Crusaders' franchise area. As a result, the majority of Crusaders players played for Canterbury. Today, the Crusaders' franchise area contains two ITM Cup sides — Canterbury and Tasman.

Grounds


The Crusaders' main home ground is the 36,000-capacity AMI Stadium in Christchurch, however they did not play there during the 2011 Super Rugby season due to damage inflicted by the February Christchurch earthquake. The Crusaders usually take one game each year to another part of the franchise area, most often when the New Zealand cricket team
New Zealand cricket team
The New Zealand cricket team, nicknamed the Black Caps, are the national cricket team representing New Zealand. They played their first in 1930 against England in Christchurch, New Zealand, becoming the fifth country to play Test cricket. It took the team until 1955–56 to win a Test, against the...

 is playing at AMI Stadium. Previous venues have included Trafalgar Park in Nelson
Nelson, New Zealand
Nelson is a city on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay, and is the economic and cultural centre of the Nelson-Tasman region. Established in 1841, it is the second oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest in the South Island....

, and Alpine Energy Stadium in Timaru
Timaru
TimaruUrban AreaPopulation:27,200Extent:Former Timaru City CouncilTerritorial AuthorityName:Timaru District CouncilPopulation:42,867 Land area:2,736.54 km² Mayor:Janie AnnearWebsite:...

. As part of the pre-match buildup when playing at home, Conquest of Paradise
1492: Conquest of Paradise (album)
1492: Conquest of Paradise is a 1992 music score by Greek electronic composer and artist Vangelis. The film, a recount of the voyage to America in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, was directed by Ridley Scott, for whom Vangelis had previously composed the music score for Blade Runner, in 1982...

is played while several horsemen dressed as knights circle the field.

The Crusaders' management proposed playing a 2005 regular season match in Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

 when Jade Stadium was unavailable. Although five of the franchise's seven provincial Unions supported having the regular season game in Melbourne, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) vetoed the proposal. In 2006, the Crusaders did play a pre-season match in Melbourne against the Western Force at Olympic Park Stadium
Olympic Park Stadium
Olympic Park Stadium was a multi-purpose outdoor stadium located on Olympic Boulevard in inner Melbourne. The stadium was built as an athletics training venue for the 1956 Olympics, a short distance from the MCG, which served as the Olympic Stadium...

. They did the same in the 2008 preseason as well, also against the Force.

Due to the 2011 earthquake, the Crusaders played four games at Trafalgar Park, and two in Timaru during their 2011 season. They also played a "home" game in Wellington in Round 18 against Hurricanes, and a special home match against the Sharks at Twickenham
Twickenham Stadium
Twickenham Stadium is a stadium located in Twickenham, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is the largest rugby union stadium in the United Kingdom and has recently been enlarged to seat 82,000...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. The London match was a fundraiser for earthquake relief, and was the first Super Rugby match ever contested outside of the three participating countries. In the first 30 hours of ticket sales, over 30,000 were purchased; a spokesman for United Ticketmaster
Live Nation Entertainment
Live Nation Entertainment is the new corporate name and owner of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, who have merged. The leadership consists of John C. Malone Chairman of Liberty Media as Chairman and Michael Rapino, as President and CEO of the new company...

 indicated that the response was the strongest he had experienced for a rugby match outside of internationals.

With AMI Stadium still out of comission for the 2012 season, the Crusaders have indicated that Rugby League Park
Rugby League Park
Rugby League Park is a rugby league stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand. Formerly called the Addington Showgrounds, the ground is owned by the Canterbury Rugby League.-History:...

 in Addington
Addington
- Places :Addington as a place name is Anglo Saxon in origin, and means 'Eadda's estate'.In Australia:* Addington, VictoriaIn Canada:* Addington, Ontario* Addington County, Ontario...

 would act as their home ground for that season in order to recentralize their games in one location as opposed to the road show that was the 2011 season. The ground will get a limited makeover taking it to an 18,600 capacity and bringing its facilities to the minimum standards required of the Super Rugby competition. Whether or not the ground will be their home for one season or longer term remains to be seen.

Super records and achievements


The Crusaders won five of the ten Super 12 competitions, and lost another two finals. They also hosted the inaugural Super 14 final, which they won. Between 1998 and 2006, the Crusaders made the final every season except for one, in 2001. Their seven titles make them the most successful team in Super rugby history.

Season standings

Super 12 Super 14
Super 14
Super Rugby is the largest and pre-eminent professional Rugby union competition in the Southern Hemisphere...

Super 15

Season Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Notes
1996
1996 Super 12 season
The 1996 Super 12 season was the inaugural season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 1996, with each team playing all the others once...

12th 11 2 1 8 234 378 -144 3 13
1997
1997 Super 12 season
The 1997 Super 12 season was the second season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 1997, with each team playing all the others once...

6th 11 5 1 5 272 235 +37 4 26
1998
1998 Super 12 season
The 1998 Super 12 season was the third season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 1998, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals,...

1st 11 8 0 3 340 260 +80 9 41 (defeated Blues in final)
1999
1999 Super 12 season
The 1999 Super 12 season was the fourth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 1999, with each team playing all the others once...

1st 11 7 1 3 324 262 +62 3 33 (defeated Highlanders in final)
2000
2000 Super 12 season
The 2000 Super 12 season was the fifth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2000, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals,...

1st 11 8 0 3 369 293 +76 7 39 (defeated Brumbies in final)
2001
2001 Super 12 season
The 2001 Super 12 season was the sixth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2001, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals,...

10th 11 4 0 7 307 331 -24 7 23
2002
2002 Super 12 season
The 2002 Super 12 season was the seventh season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2002, with each team playing all the others once...

1st 11 11 0 0 469 264 +205 7 51 (defeated Brumbies in final)
2003
2003 Super 12 season
The 2003 Super 12 season was the eighth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2003, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi...

2nd 11 8 0 3 358 263 +95 8 40 (lost final to Blues)
2004
2004 Super 12 season
The 2004 Super 12 season was the ninth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2004, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals,...

2nd 11 7 0 4 345 303 +42 6 34 (lost final to Brumbies)
2005
2005 Super 12 season
The 2005 Super 12 season was the tenth season of the Super 12, contested by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The season ran from February to May 2005, with each team playing all the others once. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams entered the playoff semi finals,...

1st 11 9 0 2 459 281 +178 8 44 (defeated Waratahs
New South Wales Waratahs
The New South Wales Waratahs are an Australian rugby union football team, representing the majority of New South Wales in the Super 15 Super Rugby competition...

 in final)
2006
2006 Super 14 season
The 2006 Super 14 season started on Friday 10 February 2006. The Grand Final was held on Saturday 27 May 2006. Super 14 is a provincial rugby union competition with 14 teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. This season was the first of the expansion, which saw two new teams, the...

1st 13 11 1 1 412 210 +202 5 51 (Defeated the Hurricanes in final
2006 Super 14 Final
The Final of the 2006 Super 14 season, a rugby union competition in the Southern Hemisphere, took place on May 27, 2006 at Jade Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand. The match was won by the Crusaders 19 points to 12 over the visiting Wellington-based side, the Hurricanes...

)
2007
2007 Super 14 season
The 2007 Super 14 season started in February 2007 with preseason matches held from mid-January. It finished on 19 May with the final at ABSA Stadium in Durban, in the first final between two South African teams in the history of Super Rugby...

3rd 13 8 0 5 382 235 +147 10 42 (Lost to the Bulls in semi-final)
2008
2008 Super 14 season
The 2008 Super 14 season started in February 2008 with pre-season matches held from mid-January. It finished on 31 May, when the Crusaders won their seventh Super Rugby title with a 20–12 victory over the Waratahs in front of the Crusaders' home fans. The 2008 season was the third of the expansion,...

1st 13 11 0 2 369 176 +193 8 52 (defeated Waratahs
New South Wales Waratahs
The New South Wales Waratahs are an Australian rugby union football team, representing the majority of New South Wales in the Super 15 Super Rugby competition...

 in final)
2009
2009 Super 14 season
The 2009 Super 14 season kicked off in February 2009 with pre-season matches held from mid-January. It finished on 30 May, when the Bulls won their second Super Rugby title with a decisive 61–17 victory over the Waikato Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. The 2009 season...

4th 13 8 1 4 231 198 +33 7 41 (Lost to the Bulls in semi-final)
2010
2010 Super 14 season
The 2010 Super 14 season kicked off in February 2010 with pre-season matches held from mid-January. It finished on 29 May. The 2010 season was the fifth and last season of the expanded Super 14 format. The schedule, which covers 3½ months, featured a total of 94 matches, with each team playing one...

4th 13 8 1 4 388 295 +93 7 41 (Lost to the Bulls in semi-final)
2011
2011 Super 15 season
The 2011 Super Rugby season was the first season of the new 15-team format for the Super Rugby competition, which involved teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Including its past iterations as Super 12 and Super 14, this was the 16th season for the Southern Hemisphere's premier...

2nd 18 13 1 4 436 273 +163 7 65 (Lost to the Reds
Queensland Reds
The Queensland Reds represent Queensland in the sport of rugby union in the Southern Hemisphere Super Rugby competition. Prior to 1996 they were a representative team selected on merit from the rugby union club competitions in Queensland...

 in final)

Competition records


The Crusaders team and members of its squad hold various competition records in both the Super 12 and Super 14. The Crusaders hold the record for most points in a game, with their 96–19 victory over the Waratahs in the 12th round of the 2002 season. This game set the record for the most tries scored (14), and the most conversions in a match (13). In 2005 the team set the record for most points scored in a season with 541 and most tries in a season with 71. The Crusaders also feature in the record for the lowest combined score in a game when they were defeated by the Highlanders 6–0 in the 4th round of the 2009 season.

Several individuals have achieved competition records whilst playing for the team. Most notable are records for individual points scored in a season: Andrew Mehrtens holds the Super 12 record of 206 points, achieved in 1998; while Dan Carter holds the Super 14 record of 221 points. Andrew Mehrtens also holds the record for Super points overall, with 990 accumulated during his Crusaders career. Rico Gear holds the joint record for tries in a Super 12 or Super 14 season, with 15 tries in 2005. In round ten of the 2007 season, the Crusaders defeated the Western Force
Western Force
Western Force is a rugby union team based in Perth, Western Australia playing in the international Super Rugby competition. They first competed in the 2006 season and finished with the wooden spoon in that year, however their performances greatly improved in 2007. In 2008 they finished in 8th...

 53–0 and in the process became the first team in Super rugby to win 100 matches.

2012 Squad


The squad for the 2012 season:

Props Nick Barrett Wyatt Crockett
Wyatt Crockett
Wyatt Crockett is a New Zealand rugby player who plays for the Crusaders in the super 14. He also plays for Canterbury in the Air New Zealand Cup. He attended Nelson College.He made his All Blacks debut against Italy in 2009....

 Ben Franks
Ben Franks
Ben Franks is a rugby union player for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby competition and All Blacks. He plays as a prop.-Provincial:Franks made his provincial debut for Canterbury against Otago in 2005...

 Owen Franks
Owen Franks
Owen Franks is a New Zealand rugby player who plays for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby competition and the All Blacks at international level.-Early Career:He attended Christchurch Boys' High School. His local rugby club is Linwood...



Hookers Corey Flynn
Corey Flynn
Corey Flynn is a New Zealand rugby union player who plays in the position of hooker. He was educated at Southland Boys' High School.-Provincial:He played provincial for Southland until he moved to Canterbury in 2003....

 Ben Funnell Quentin McDonald

Locks Tom Donnelly
Tom Donnelly
Thomas Mathew Donnelly is a rugby union player who plays for the Crusaders Super Rugby team, and provincial rugby for Otago. He has also made 15 appearances for the All Blacks since 2009.-Provincial Rugby:...

 Ross Kennedy
Ross Kennedy
Ross Kennedy is a rugby union player who currently playing with .-Playing career:Kennedy was marked as a future star when he claimed a starting spot at lock for Wellington in the 2002 provincial rugby season, aged only 19...

 Luke Romano Sam Whitelock
Sam Whitelock
Samuel Lawrence Whitelock is a New Zealand born rugby player. He plays as a lock for Crusaders in the Super 14 competition and Canterbury in the Air New Zealand Cup....

 

Loose Forwards Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw
Richard Hugh "Richie" McCaw is a New Zealand rugby union player, and is the current test captain. He plays in the openside flanker position for the New Zealand, Crusaders and Canterbury rugby teams...

 (c) Matt Todd
Matt Todd
Matt Todd is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. He plays at blindside or openside flank. He is 1.85m tall and weighs 104 kg....

 Kieran Read
Kieran Read
Kieran Read is a rugby union player for the Crusaders in the Super 14 competition. He plays as a blind-side flanker or No.8, but has the ability and height to play in the lock position...

 Joe Wheeler George Whitelock
George Whitelock
George Whitelock is a rugby union player for the Crusaders in the Super 14 competition and Canterbury in the Air New Zealand Cup. He plays as a flanker.-Biography:George is the son of a former Junior All Black, Braeden Whitelock...

 Luke Whitelock

Half Backs Andrew Ellis
Willi Heinz

First Five-Eighths Tyler Bleyendal Dan Carter
 

Centres Ryan Crotty Robbie Fruean
Robbie Fruean
Robert Fruean is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. He is a midfield back and plays outside centre and sometimes on the wing. He is a former Porirua College head boy. He is of Samoan heritage.-Career:...

 Tom Taylor Adam Whitelock

Wingers Zac Guildford Sean Maitland
Sean Maitland
Sean Daniel Maitland is a New Zealand Rugby Union player who plays for the Crusaders in the Super 15. He also plays provincial rugby for Canterbury.-Early life:Sean Maitland was born in Tokoroa, New Zealand on 14 September 1988...

 Patrick Osbourne

Full Backs Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg is a World Cup winning New Zealand Rugby union player who plays for the Crusaders in the Super 15 and the All Blacks. He has also played for the New Zealand Sevens team. He is of Maori descent, on his mother's side....

 Tom Marshall

Notable players



Six Crusaders have played 100 games or more for the Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Justin Marshall, Reuben Thorne, Caleb Ralph, Greg Somerville, and most recently, Chris Jack. Half-back Justin Marshall was the first player to achieve the feat, playing for the Crusaders between 1996 and 2005. Both Thorne and Ralph achieved the 100 game mark at the same time; however, Ralph had played nine of his matches for other franchises: three for the Chiefs and six for the Blues. Ralph achieved the "100 Crusaders games" feat later that season; remarkably, they were played consecutively. Greg Somerville became the next player to contribute 100 games for the franchise, achieving this in the 2006 semi-final against the Bulls. The first match of the 2008 season was Leon MacDonald's 100th game, and on the 11 March 2011 Chris Jack started against the Brumbies to play his 100th match for the Crusaders. The Crusaders also boast two winners of the IRB International Player of the Year
IRB International Player of the Year
IRB Player of the Year is an accolade awarded annually by the International Rugby Board. It is awarded to the player who is adjudged to have been the best performer in rugby union internationals in the preceding season IRB Player of the Year is an accolade awarded annually by the International...

 Award: Dan Carter (2005) and Richie McCaw (2006, 2009 and 2010).

Team of the decade


On the eve of the last Super 12 final in 2005, a panel of experts picked the Crusaders team of the decade, which was published by the Christchurch Press. The experts chosen to select the team were: Tane Norton
Tane Norton
Rangitane Will "Tane" Norton MNZM is a New Zealand rugby union player. He played at the hooker position...

 (former All Blacks captain), Vance Stewart (first Crusaders coach), Dick Tayler (president of supporters club), Bob Schumacher (former Christchurch Press rugby writer) and Tony Smith (Christchurch Press rugby writer).

The most notable omissions from the team were Dan Carter, Richard Loe, and Reuben Thorne. Daniel Carter was omitted due to the strength of Andrew Mehrtens and Aaron Mauger who occupied the first and second five-eighth positions respectively, and because he was regarded as "the star of the next decade". Despite being considered one of Canterbury's best ever props, Richard Loe missed out as he was only in the team for the unsuccessful 1996 season. The former All Black captain Reuben Thorne was omitted due the quality of players in the lock and blindside flanker
Flanker (rugby union)
A flanker is a position in the sport of rugby union. Flankers play in the forwards, and are generally classified as either blindside, or openside flankers; numbers six and seven respectively. The name comes from their position in a scrum in which they flank each set of forwards...

 positions. The most unlikely inclusion was for Norm Berryman
Norm Berryman
Norman Rangi Berryman is a New Zealand rugby union player. He first played first class rugby for Northland in the National Provincial Championship , in 1991. He continued to play for Northland, and in 1996 played for the Chiefs in the new Super 12. Berryman was drafted into the Blues in 1997, and...

 at right wing. Berryman was picked over Marika Vunibaka and Afato So'oalo due to his crucial tries late in the 1998 and 1999 seasons that helped the Crusaders qualify for the semi-finals. The team:
Crusaders Super 12 Team of the Decade
Number Name Position
15 Leon MacDonald
Leon MacDonald
Leon Raymond MacDonald is a retired New Zealand rugby union footballer, and now assistant coach for the Tasman Makos rugby team, who played 56 tests for the national team, All Blacks. He plays first five-eighths and fullback.-Biography:MacDonald was born in Blenheim, New Zealand, and attended...

Fullback
14 Norm Berryman
Norm Berryman
Norman Rangi Berryman is a New Zealand rugby union player. He first played first class rugby for Northland in the National Provincial Championship , in 1991. He continued to play for Northland, and in 1996 played for the Chiefs in the new Super 12. Berryman was drafted into the Blues in 1997, and...

Right-wing
13 Daryl Gibson
Daryl Gibson
Daryl Peter Earl Gibson is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer who played inside centre for Canterbury Crusaders in the southern hemisphere and Bristol Shoguns, Leicester Tigers and Glasgow Warriors in the northern hemisphere...

Centre
12 Aaron Mauger
Aaron Mauger
Aaron Joseph Douglas Mauger is a former rugby union player who played at centre for Leicester Tigers. He previously played first five-eighths and second five-eighths for Canterbury , the Crusaders and the New Zealand All Blacks...

Second five eighth
11 Caleb Ralph
Caleb Ralph
Caleb Stan Ralph is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. Ralph began his first-class career with Bay of Plenty, then moved to Auckland before heading to Canterbury. He started his Super Rugby career with the Chiefs in 1997, Blues , Crusaders and a cameo role with the Queensland Reds...

Left wing
10 Andrew Mehrtens
Andrew Mehrtens
Andrew Philip Mehrtens MNZM is a New Zealand rugby union footballer, currently playing in France for Béziers, a club in the third-level Fédérale 1 league...

First five eighth
9 Justin Marshall
Justin Marshall
Justin Warren Marshall, MNZM is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. He was born in Mataura and educated in Gore before settling in Christchurch. Marshall played 81 games for the New Zealand All Blacks between 1995 and 2005...

Half-back
8 Scott Robertson
Scott Robertson (rugby player)
Scott Robertson is a rugby union footballer, who plays Flanker for Perpignan. He has previously played for Canterbury Crusaders and New Zealand.-All Black's Statistics:Tests: 23 Games: 0...

Number eight
7 Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw
Richard Hugh "Richie" McCaw is a New Zealand rugby union player, and is the current test captain. He plays in the openside flanker position for the New Zealand, Crusaders and Canterbury rugby teams...

Openside flanker
Flanker (rugby union)
A flanker is a position in the sport of rugby union. Flankers play in the forwards, and are generally classified as either blindside, or openside flankers; numbers six and seven respectively. The name comes from their position in a scrum in which they flank each set of forwards...

6 Todd Blackadder
Todd Blackadder
Todd Julian Blackadder is a former professional New Zealand rugby union player and professional rugby coach. He served as Director of Rugby for the Tasman Rugby Union before being appointed to succeed Robbie Deans as coach of Super 14 team the Crusaders...

 (Captain)
Blindside flanker
Flanker (rugby union)
A flanker is a position in the sport of rugby union. Flankers play in the forwards, and are generally classified as either blindside, or openside flankers; numbers six and seven respectively. The name comes from their position in a scrum in which they flank each set of forwards...

5 Norm Maxwell
Norm Maxwell
Norman Michael Clifford Maxwell is a New Zealand rugby union player. His usual position is at lock. He is 1.98m tall and weighs 106 kg. He played for Canterbury in the NPC and he also represented Crusaders in the Super 12 rugby competition...

Lock
4 Chris Jack
Chris Jack
Christopher Raymond Jack is a New Zealand rugby union footballer who plays as a lock. He has played for Canterbury and the Tasman Makos in the National Provincial Championship and its successor, the Air New Zealand Cup; the Crusaders in Super Rugby; Saracens in the Guinness Premiership; and...

Lock
3 Greg Somerville
Greg Somerville
Greg Mardon Somerville is a New Zealand rugby union player. He is a former All Black and a specialised tighthead prop who can also play loosehead. Somerville made his All Black debut in 2000 against Tonga, a match in which the All Blacks won 102–0...

Tighthead prop
2 Mark Hammett
Mark Hammett
Mark Garry Hammett is a rugby union coach and former New Zealand rugby union player. Hammett played provincial rugby for Canterbury, as a hooker, between 1992 and 2002. When the Crusaders franchise was formed for the Super 12 in 1996, Hammett was contracted, becoming a founding player...

Hooker
1 Greg Feek
Greg Feek
Gregory Edward Feek is a New Zealand rugby union player who has played 10 tests for the All Blacks between 1999 and 2001 as a prop, in addition to 63 appearances with the Crusaders. He was born in New Plymouth. He had played provincial rugby for Taranaki between 1996 and 1998 and Canterbury...

Loosehead prop
16 Corey Flynn
Corey Flynn
Corey Flynn is a New Zealand rugby union player who plays in the position of hooker. He was educated at Southland Boys' High School.-Provincial:He played provincial for Southland until he moved to Canterbury in 2003....

Hooker
17 Richard Loe
Richard Loe
Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black prop forward, with a reputation for thuggery on the pitch - often referred to as 'The Enforcer' by his team mates...

Loosehead prop
18 Brad Thorn
Brad Thorn
Bradley Carnegie Thorn is a professional rugby union player. He has in the past represented Australia at rugby league, and currently represents New Zealand in union...

Lock
19 Reuben Thorne
Reuben Thorne
Reuben David Thorne is a New Zealand rugby union player, and former captain of the national team, the All Blacks.-Super 12:...

Blindside flanker
Flanker (rugby union)
A flanker is a position in the sport of rugby union. Flankers play in the forwards, and are generally classified as either blindside, or openside flankers; numbers six and seven respectively. The name comes from their position in a scrum in which they flank each set of forwards...

20 Mark Robinson Half-back
21 Dan Carter First five eighth
22 Marika Vunibaka
Marika Vunibaka
Marika "Dawainavesi" Vunibaka is a Fijian rugby union footballer. He has represented the national team on numerous occasions, including at the 1999 Rugby World Cup in Wales and the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia....

Right-wing

Coaches


The Crusaders were coached in their first season by Vance Stewart, who was assisted by Aussie McLean. Stewart was replaced by Wayne Smith in 1997; McLean too was replaced, by Peter Sloane. Smith continued as coach until he was appointed All Blacks coach after the 1999 season. Robbie Deans took over the reins for the 2000 season. Deans has had several assistants: in 2000 and 2001 his assistant was Steve Hansen
Steve Hansen
Steve Hansen is a New Zealand rugby union coach and former player.He was the head coach of the Welsh national team. He became the ninth Welsh coach in 13 years, after Graham Henry parted company with the Welsh Rugby Union in 2002. During his first game in charge, Wales performed well but lost by...

; in 2002, Colin Cooper; in 2003 and 2004, Don Hayes; and in 2005 and 2006, Vern Cotter. Deans' assistant for the 2007 season was former Crusader Mark Hammett. Deans was appointed coach of Australia
Australia national rugby union team
The Australian national rugby union team is the representative side of Australia in rugby union. The national team is nicknamed the Wallabies and competes annually with New Zealand and South Africa in the Tri-Nations Series, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with New Zealand and the...

 in December 2007, but was allowed to continue coaching the Crusaders in the 2008 season. Former captain, Todd Blackadder was appointed his successor in July 2008, with Hammett continuing as assistant coach. Hammett was appointed Hurricanes coach from the beginning of the 2011 season, and consequently former prop Dave Hewett was appointed assistant forwards coach.

External links