Tom Christie ready to ‘rip in’

Tom C

Christie has been one of the most successful tacklers in Super Rugby since debuting for the side in 2020.


Christie said he felt back into the swing of things after an internal game with the Crusaders' squad and, then, last week's run against the Highlanders.


"I was back out on the field after 10-11 months out of rugby, so I was excited to rip in this year," he said ahead of Saturday's game with the Hurricanes.


Christie said his time out of action hadn't proved a grind. Two months after his surgery, his mindset changed to seeing it as an opportunity to grow and get better.


"It was the first extended period away from the game I've had since school rugby," the former New Zealand Under-20 skipper said.


"As soon as that flicked the switch for me it was completely different and, hopefully, it is going to be good for my rugby in the long run," he said.


His spare time in Queenstown will involve developing his DJ skills and getting outside to play golf and tennis. Christie shares his tennis interest with Fergus Burke and Dallas McLeod in Christchurch.

He also has a chance to complete a degree in finance and accounting this year with only two papers remaining.


"I'm pretty excited to have that under my belt. It gave me 12 months to focus on my body and to put some weight on. I'm in a good spot, so it is just about taking it all onto the field," he said.


He's 105 kg, a weight he has played at in the past. He wanted to be more explosive as an openside flanker.


Coach Scott Robertson faces a different challenge as the side prepare to play the Hurricanes in their warm-up game this weekend.


"They will also meet them a week later in the first round of Super Rugby Pacific.


Robertson said: "I've done it in Europe quite a few times when they play back-to-back, but I think it is just about focusing on ourselves, getting ourselves right, and integrating our All Black returning Crusaders so they're really clear on how we're playing."


The Crusaders have taken four extra players to their allotted 35 to Queenstown as cover for the exercise. That was to limit the need to have incoming players to the bubble spend five days in quarantine before joining the squad.

Former All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo pulled a hamstring the day before the team left Christchurch, so was not with the side.


Robertson confirmed All Blacks first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga will not be available until round four.


Ethan Blackadder hasn't recovered from a high hamstring injury suffered in the latter stages of the All Blacks northern tour, while Jack Goodhue is completing his rehabilitation from surgery last year.


Those left in Christchurch will prepare in a managed hub.


Robertson said the issue was getting them playing e. That was more difficult now that the development programme would not happen. A possible option would be playing for the Crusaders' 20s side.


The team's set-up in Queenstown meant they are shielded from the public at their accommodation. They can get out of their hotel but have to maintain distances and contact with people outside their bubble, he said.


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