The Christchurch-based club have a bye in round one of the new competition and face the Hurricanes in their opening game on Sunday 21 June in the capital at 3:05pm.
Some new innovations will be implemented in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa, including golden point and the ability to replace players following a red card.
Existing laws at the breakdown will be applied more strictly to create faster attacking ball and a fairer contest. Ball carriers will be allowed only one dynamic movement after being tackled and tacklers will be expected to roll away immediately in the direction of the side-line.
Crusaders and All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor said they have been focusing heavily on the breakdown area at training.
“It’s not a massive change, it’s just that the referees are going to be looking for things a lot more clearly with the people rolling out of the tackle. We have been working on that at training, but it’s going to mean that teams are going to be holding the ball a bit longer and defences have to be really well set to create opportunities to get it back.
“I think it’s good. New Zealand teams love to attack and throw the ball around so hopefully that’s what it creates and means you have to apply pressure elsewhere if you can’t at the breakdown.”
Taylor said the bye week means they have a chance to see how teams are approaching the rules and how they are trying to change their tactics.
“Our first game is against the Hurricanes and they are an awesome attacking team. They will have a few things that they’ll try, so it’s a great chance for us to look at new ways we can exploit those areas.”
When it comes to the golden point addition, don’t expect to see Taylor dusting off the boots in preparation for a drop goal.
“I couldn’t kick a barn door to be honest. I’ll just tuck that one away and focus on the line outs and scrums for now.
“But it is interesting. The NRL have had it for a few years and it makes for a good watch. I think if I reflect on the past against New Zealand teams there have been a few draws, and this is great because there are no playoffs. It creates an opportunity for one team to win. I’m all for it. I probably won’t be on the field when it happens but it’s exciting and hopefully it creates a bit more of an edge and entertainment for the fans.”
Talking about lockdown, the 29 year-old father of two valued the extra time he got to spend with his family over the extended break.
“It was all hands on deck but I cherished that time because I know that I’ll probably never get an opportunity like that again in my life to spend that much time with my kids and watch them grow. It’s the reality of footy and just normal work, so I loved it and I got to just chip away with footy and now we are back, I’m loving that too.”
On Wednesday, Taylor posted the “black square” on his Instagram account showing his support for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last week. Taylor wants more people to be aware of racism in New Zealand.
“Change your thought process of judgement would be one way to change the way we look at things, and people and race. I think it’s just about unity. We are all humans at the end of the day that’s what it comes down to. I think we all need to stand together and look at each other as equals and be judged equally.
“That’s what we are hearing at the moment that that’s not the case. That’s the area I think we need to change is our perception and being in a position of privilege, we don’t really think like that, but we need to change that.”