Ryan Crotty returns to Crusaders
Former All Black and Crusaders captain Ryan Crotty has signed with the franchise for the 2024 Pacific Super Rugby season.
Crotty, 35, played his last game for the Crusaders in 2019 before heading to Japan to play for the Kubota Spears.
He was lured back to Christchurch by a combination of family connections and rugby.
“I love this team so much, it’s hard to put into words how much it means to me,” Crotty said on his return.
He was seen training with the Crusaders late in the ’23 season, and was a forward for Canterbury 2023 Bunnings NPC, playing nine games towards the quarter-final side.
“Japan was great, a very good experience, but it felt like time to come home. Young family life, you know, it’s so valuable to spend more time with the kids – they didn’t travel with me to Japan last season. , so I’m very grateful to be here.”
Ryan Crotty is Crusader number 134, having made his debut in the 2009 team which included Brad Thorn, Kieran Read, and Richie McCaw.
“Christchurch and the Crusaders are home to me and I’m really excited to reconnect with some special friends,” he said.
Crotty captained the team for several games in the 2014 season and was named vice-captain alongside Matt Todd in 2017 – Scott Robertson’s first year coaching and the first of the Crusaders’ current seven title streak.
Crusaders head coach Rob Penney said Crotty is “a great man and a club legend” who will undoubtedly play an important role in the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.
“He decided that the coals were still burning for another campaign, and of course we were very enthusiastic about him coming back to camp,” said Penney.
“His knowledge, his experience, his passion for this place – it’s limitless. He’s been a cornerstone of this place for a long time, he’s helped create the culture we have here, and he’s a leader on the field and in the country.”
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