Crusaders

Crusaders are expecting nothing but the best from Moana Pasifika

It will be Moana Pasifika's first game in the competition after they had the first two games, against the Blues and the Chiefs, postponed because of Covid-19 within the ranks.

Moana Pasifika continue to be based in Queenstown while some of the other teams have left for home.

Coach of the Crusaders Scott Robertson said he expects Moana Pasifika to play with passion in their debut game.

Moana Pasifika look forward to Crusaders game

The team has yet to play a game in the competition, after they missed the first two rounds when several players tested positive for Covid-19.

Both players and management spent ten days in self-isolation at a Queenstown hotel.

Moana Pasifika halfback Ereatara Enari said the last two weeks have been a challenging time for the team as they recover from physical inactivity.

Crusaders coach preparing for Covid cases, offers support to Moana Pasifika

Moana Pasifika have had their first two games postponed after an outbreak in their squad in Queenstown.

Robertson confirmed the Crusaders will leave the Super Rugby bubble in Queenstown and return to Christchurch after Friday's game against the Highlanders in Dunedin and he concedes that could put the team at greater risk of exposure to the virus.

"Someone's going to get it and it will be no fault of their own.

All Blacks duo to miss Crusaders' first three Super Rugby Pacific games

The playmaker, and fellow All Black Ethan Blackadder, remained in Christchurch and are set to miss the first three weeks of Super Rugby Pacific.

Mo’unga, who is utilising a clause in his contract to take an extended break, and Blackadder (hamstring) will miss games against the Hurricanes, Highlanders and Moana Pasifika.

As long as the Queenstown bubble isn’t extended beyond round three, the Crusaders will return to Christchurch after their game against the competition newbies in Dunedin on March 4.

Crusaders move pre-season game from Blenheim to Christchurch in red setting

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge confirmed on Monday morning that the match, originally scheduled for Blenheim’s Lansdowne Park on February 11, will be played “behind closed doors’’ in Christchurch.

Mansbridge said the “substantial cost of delivering this fixture at a regional venue, paired with the current Omicron situation in New Zealand and the country’s move overnight to the red traffic light setting, means hosting the fixture at its current venue is now untenable”.

Crusaders to reveal bold new away jersey, Highlanders go back to maroon

Home jerseys for the Hurricanes, Chiefs and Highlanders are advertised for sale in the UK and Ireland, as well as alternative jerseys for the Crusaders, Chiefs and Highlanders. No Blues designs were advertised.

The Crusaders alternative jersey is a complete redesign from this year's version, complete with a representation of the Southern Alps across the chest.

“Displaying a snow-capped version of the home shirt's Southern Alps graphic, this Crusaders rugby jersey transports its unifying message to away grounds,” the website said.

Scott Robertson made to wait after Ian Foster has contract extended

While NZ Rugby was explaining its decision to extend All Blacks coach Ian Foster’s contract through to the 2023 World Cup in France, Robertson’s supporters had to, again, take a deep breath and accept defeat.

Robertson missed out to Foster when the pair interviewed for the top job in late 2019, following Sir Steve Hansen’s departure after the World Cup in Japan.

Foster was offered a two-year contract. Robertson returned to the Crusaders, and this year re-signed a fresh deal that runs through to 2024 with the option of a release a year earlier.

Fit and Flying: Manasa Mataele ready for Fiji debut

The Suva-born winger was first approached by Fiji ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and then prior to their European tour last year.

But after two years of injury struggles, which included tearing his right ACL and a pectoral tear in 2020, Mataele said he wanted to be back to his best before taking on the challenge.

"For me personally I want to get into the groove of things where I'm playing good rugby, I'm playing rugby on back to back weeks and gaining that confidence back and then get to that international stage," he said.

Blues to host Highlanders in trans-Tasman final as Crusaders fall short

Needing only to win to secure their spot after the Crusaders failed to rack up enough points against the Rebels in Saturday's earlier match, the Blues completed their mission reasonably comfortably against the Perth-based Australians.

Four unanswered tries in the first half, including two for loose forward Hoskins Sotutu, all but secured the Blues a first home Super Rugby final since they won their third title in the international competition in 2003.

Crusaders' big mover Leicester Fainga'anuku staying in Christchurch

Usually, however, the off-contract players tend to stay put – such is the commitment that they have to the culture in Crusaders country.

Bulldozing outside back Leicester Fainga’anuku has become the latest to extend his time with the Super Rugby Aotearoa champions, agreeing to a new deal that will keep him in Christchurch until 2023.