Healthy competition within Crusaders halfback stocks

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Already well served with Bryn Hall and Mitch Drummond as long-serving members of the championship-winning side, they have been joined by former All Black Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi for 2022.


Hall said he had played with Tahuriorangi with the Māori All Blacks. He was an enthusiastic player, and having him in the Crusaders'  would add depth.


"It's a competitive bunch and he will bring out the best of us and, hopefully, Drummy and I can push where he can get back into the All Blacks," he said.


It wasn't only in the halfback position but throughout the squad that the emphasis was on helping each other, so the starting player was in the best shape to contribute to the side.


But the other battle facing the side is adapting quickly to the enforced change to play in a Covid-19 bubble in Queenstown and Invercargill.


Hall said the move was part of their experiences of the last two years when they had been coping with things that were out of their control.


“It's a great opportunity. It reminds me back in the day when we would go on tour for three or four weeks. A lot of our younger guys probably haven't experienced doing that, so it's a really good opportunity for us.”

Bryn Hall


"More importantly, for the competition's sake, we are playing rugby," he said.


The Super Rugby Pacific teams were getting off lightly when compared to the Warriors, Phoenix and Breakers, who have to spend four or five months in Australia in order to play.


Hall said he couldn't imagine how tough that was on players' families. By comparison, it was shaping as four or five weeks for the Super Rugby teams.


Being able to play rugby was the key thing. Hall said it had been frustrating that North Harbour, Auckland and Counties Manukau couldn't play during the Bunnings NPC. They were victims of Auckland's second lockdown for the year. 


"So it's a really exciting time for us and we're looking forward to getting out on the field," he said.


It was tough for the All Blacks who had been away for so long during the Rugby Championship and the northern tour, but Covid had demanded that teams adapt over the last two years, he said.


The enforced break, while frustrating, had its benefits. Hall said it was the first time in his career that he had been able to nurse some niggling injuries instead of playing through them as he had in the past.



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