Meet the Rookies: The Crusaders

2019 11 26 Coote Rugby NZ 052

L-R: George Bower, Cullen Grace, Inga Finau, Ethan Roots, Sevu Reece, Brodie McAlister, Sione Havili, Dallas McLeod, Tom Christie, Isi Tuungafasi, Fergus Burke

 

Isi Tuungafasi

DOB: 10/1/95

Position: Prop 10/1/95

Mitre 10 Cup team: Northland

The scoop: Tongan-born Tuungafasi has been marked for big things since he represented the New Zealand Under 20s in 2015. The younger brother of All Black prop Ofa, Isi made four appearances for the Crusaders in 2019 after being called into the squad.

 

George Bower

DOB: 28/05/92

Position: Prop

Mitre 10 Cup team: Otago

The scoop: Wellington-born Bower has been a steady improver since making a solitary appearance for Otago in 2014. In 2018 he returned to the provincial scene with seven more caps for Otago in the Mitre 10 Cup and earned a call up to the Crusaders in 2020 for his first ever Super Rugby contract.

 

Tom Christie

DOB: 04/03/98

Position: Loose Forward

Mitre 10 Cup team: Canterbury

The scoop: Christie is a young openside of immense potential on and off the field. The Shirley Boys’ High School old boy is studying toward an engineering degree at the University of Canterbury while making every post a winner on the field. A captain of the New Zealand Under 20s in 2018, he has represented the Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup side since 2017.

 

 

Brodie McAlister

DOB: 17/06/97

Position: Hooker

Mitre 10 Cup team: Canterbury

The scoop: Capped by the Crusaders in 2019, McAlister is ready to take his game to another level. A product of Shirley Boys’ High School in Christchurch and former New Zealand Secondary Schools representative, the burly hooker has the size, drive and ability to make an impact in Investec Super Rugby in 2020.

 

Cullen Grace

DOB: 20/12/99

Position: Loose Forward

Mitre 10 Cup team: Canterbury

The scoop: The youngest player among New Zealand’s five Investec Super Rugby squads is touted for big things. The teenager has been on the Crusaders radar since he represented Timaru Boys’ High School first XV and went on to play for the New Zealand Under 20s. A loose forward who can play lock, he impressed during his first season of Mitre 10 Cup rugby in 2019 and earned his first Investec Super Rugby contract.

 

Fergus Burke

DOB: 03/09/99

Position: First five-eighth

Mitre 10 Cup team: Canterbury

The scoop: Originally from Gisborne, Burke attended St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton before moving south to Canterbury University where he’s made every rugby post a winner. A tall playmaker with a turn of pace and a great kicking game, he will be an asset to the Crusaders in 2020.

 

Inga Finau

DOB: 21/08/94

Position: Midfield back

Mitre 10 Cup team: Canterbury

The scoop: Finau has been a steady improver since leaving Auckland’s Dilworth School bound for Christchurch to study sports coaching at the University of Canterbury. A midfielder with plenty of power and pace he debuted for Canterbury’s Mitre 10 Cup side in 2016, took a year off professional rugby to concentrate on his studies in 2018, and earns his first Investec Super Rugby contract in 2020.

 

Dallas McLeod

DOB: 30/04/99

Position: Midfield

Mitre 10 Cup team: Canterbury

The scoop: The Christ’s College graduate was the vice-captain of the New Zealand Under 20s squad in 2019 and is studying sports coaching at the University of Canterbury. Considered to be a promising midfielder who is strong in the air and on the ground.

 

 

Ethan Roots

DOB: 10/11/97

Position: Loose forward

Mitre 10 Cup team: North Harbour

The scoop: A strong, abrasive loose forward who can also play lock, the Rosmini College old boy comes off a brilliant Mitre 10 Cup season ready to make an impact on Investec Super Rugby.

 

Sione Havili

DOB: 25/01/98

Position: Loose Forward

Mitre 10 Cup team: Tasman

The scoop: Since winning the Golden Boot award for the New Zealand Secondary Schools team in 2016, the Auckland Grammar School graduate has been a player to watch. His talents blossomed with Tasman during the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup and now the once-capped Blues representative gets a chance to show his skills with the Crusaders in 2020.

 

Fetuli Paea

DOB: 16/08/94

Position: Outside back

Mitre 10 Cup team: Tasman

The scoop: A Tongan international in fifteens and sevens, the pacey outside back is capable of playing centre, wing or fullback. Paea brings plenty of experience, height and power to the Crusaders back three.

 

Sevu Reece

DOB: 13/02/97

Position: Outside back

Mitre 10 Cup team: Waikato

The scoop: One of the stars of the 2019 Investec Super Rugby season after being called up to the Crusaders as an injury replacement. Reece continued his form into the Rugby World Cup where he also starred on social media alongside New Zealand band Six60.

 

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