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Crusaders: Super Rugby all-time XV

Jaxin Daniels

Picking the best of the champion Crusaders

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

As the countdown to the kickoff of Super Rugby Pacific 2024 on February 23 gathers momentum, the Herald has examined the country’s teams, unravelling their illustrious pasts to present their definitive all-time XVs. Our team of experts has delved into the archives to curate the finest selection of players from each franchise.

1. Wyatt Crockett - The Super Rugby appearance leader and only double centurion. Crockett will go down as one of the great props of all time.

2. Codie Taylor - Always reliable, third on the Crusaders’ try-scoring list and topping the try-scoring forwards in New Zealand cements Taylor as the hooker in my team.

3. Owen Franks - A scrummaging maestro, Franks would go on to represent the team 154 times, scoring a whopping three meat pies.

4. Sam Whitelock - The All Blacks’ record appearance holder is second in the Crusaders games played list, 19 games shy of 200. A real workhorse who played at a world-class level up until departing the side.

Sam Whitelock played more than 180 games for the Crusaders. Photo / Photosport

5. Todd Blackadder - First Crusaders Hall of Fame inductee and captain of the back-to-back-to-back title-winning Crusaders at the turn of the century.

6. Reuben Thorne - Captained the Crusaders to a perfect 2002 season and won seven titles along the way.

7. Richie McCaw (c) - Widely considered the Goat, McCaw was seemingly the captain and first name on every team sheet he was ever eligible for. A leader of men and true representation of Canterbury rugby.

Skipper Richie McCaw meets the crowd after the Crusaders won the 2008 Super 14 final. Photo / Photosport

8. Kieran Read - Third on the all-time appearance list for the franchise, Read will always be considered one of the great Crusaders leaders.

9. Justin Marshall - The first-ever Crusaders centurion and second Crusaders Hall of Fame inductee shows why he is considered one of the best nines to play the game.

10. Dan Carter - All-time Super Rugby and international points leader... need I say anything else? The greatest 10 to ever lace up the boots.

Dan Carter kicked his fair share of conversions for the Crusaders. Photo / Photosport

11. Caleb Ralph - Owner of the Crusaders try-scoring record and record for most consecutive games played in Super Rugby at 104.

12. Aaron Mauger - Slotting into the 12 jersey for the Crusaders, Mauger’s finesse with his feet and ability to read the game made him an all-time Crusader.

13. Robbie Fruean - Somewhat of a cult hero, Fruean brought immense speed and power to the Crusaders backline.

14. Sevu Reece - Only six tries shy of the all-time Crusaders record with 46 in less than half the appearances of the record holder says enough.

15. Leon MacDonald - The physical MacDonald, known as “Rangi”, provided a great kicking game and was a major factor in the Crusaders success in the early 2000s.

Coach: Scott “Razor” Robertson - Earned his shot at the big job by leading the Crusaders to their greatest era of titles.

Honourable mentions: Andrew Mehrtens, Rico Gear, Israel Dagg, Chris Jack, Brad Thorn, Greg Sommerville, Mark Hammett, Nemani Nadolo, Ryan Crotty, Luke Romano, Richie Mo’unga, Norm Berryman.

Hero image: The legendary Richie McCaw gets a pass away in action for the Crusaders. Photo / Photosport

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