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Crusaders name new Forwards Coach



Tasman Mako co-coach Dan Perrin has been named as the new Crusaders forwards coach for the next two seasons.


After being promoted to Mako co-coach alongside Gray Cornelius at the start of 2022, Perrin has been called into the Crusaders coaching staff as they chase another Super Rugby title when the season starts in February.


Perrin recalls the moment a dream became reality when he received a call from Crusaders General Manager Professional Rugby, Angus Gardiner,


“I got a call from Gus to say I was on the shortlist for the job and then a wee while later on a Tuesday night I got another call saying that they’d selected me to take on the role.”


“It was awesome, massive emotions it was a really proud moment for me and my family, so it was a ‘yes’ straight away, you’d be silly to say anything else.”



Following a recent trend of Crusaders players and staff being recruited from Tasman, Perrin walks in the footsteps of former Mako and Crusaders Assistant Coach, Andrew Goodman. Perrin has nothing but fond memories of working with Goodman, who left Crusaders this winter to Leinster in Ireland,


“Goodie’s an outstanding leader and very good man, very passionate about Mako and the Crusaders. His work ethic, rugby IQ and the connection he had with his players were a couple of things that I tried to take with me. We played together back in the day, and we were really good mates off the field too. We had a good understanding of how we both operated so I really enjoyed my time under Goodie.”


Perrin is looking forward to having opportunity to put his own stamp on an important role in such a successful rugby franchise,


“I want to bring my own personality to the role, put ‘Dan Perrin’s spin’ on it. I’ve done my apprenticeship under Jase and have been really lucky to learn under him, but I think it’s important to coach as Dan Perrin and through my own personality.”


“One of my coaching philosophies is around whanaungatanga and building relationships and that’s probably one of the first things I’ll look to do when I get down there.”


Perrin, a former Crusader himself, now finds himself coaching his former team. The Crusaders culture is something Perrin remembers from his time here and is something he is looking forward to immersing himself in again. When asked what he remembers most about his time as a player, he had a simple answer,


“The professionalism. We had some of the greatest of all time in Richie [McCaw] and Dan Carter. To rub shoulders with some of my idols, Corey Flynn, Brad Thorne, Chris Jack, just the culture and the work ethic are a couple of thig s that really stand out. I think these values have been held onto for a long time down there so I’m really excited to get back into it.”


Perrin joins the Crusaders in the lead-up to the start of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific Season.

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

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Former English International to join the Highlanders



English first-five Freddie Burns will join the Highlanders for the 2023 edition of DHL Super Rugby Pacific. Burns, currently playing for Leicester Tigers in the English Premiership has agreed terms with the Highlanders, and with the support of Leicester, will land in New Zealand prior to the first round.

The 32-year-old Burns will bring with him a wealth of experience having started his first-class career with Gloucester back in 2010. His first turn at Leicester was between 2014-2017 before three seasons with Bath and Burns has over 200 appearances in the Premiership to his name. In 2021 he had a short sojourn in Japan before returning to Leicester for the 2022 season.

A former England U20 representative he represented the senior side five times most notably debuting against the All Blacks in 2012, replacing Owen Farrell, in their 38-21 victory.

A prolific goal kicker and tactically sound first-five, who can also play fullback, he was the toast of Leicester when he dropkicked the winning goal for the Tigers against Saracens in the 2022 Gallagher Premiership final.

Burns is looking forward to the experience.

“As a young lad I grew up watching Super rugby in the early hours of morning. To have the opportunity to represent such a prestigious club as the Highlanders in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season is a huge honour. I look forward to getting started and adding to the group both on and off the field”

Highlanders Head Coach Clarke Dermody has welcomed the arrival of the experienced playmaker.

“Having a player of Freddie’s calibre available to us in such a crucial position is a real boost for the squad. Last year we were exposed at 10 due to a run of injuries and while we covered the situation, we were asking a lot of Sam Gilbert and Vili Koroi who are not regular starting first-fives. Freddie’s arrival will provide us with that extra insurance against that scenario playing out again in 2023”.

Burns will be the second international back to be added to Dermody’s 2023 squad with Argentinian outside back Martin Bogado also set to play in Highlanders colours.



Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby

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The Blues, alongside Mahurangi Rugby Club have made the decision to move their pre-season event – Blues Fest ’23 – away from Mahurangi Rugby Club due to the condition of the field.

The recent bad weather around the Blues region has meant ground staff haven’t been able to work on the field and after a check last week the tough decision was made to move the two games and nib Blues open training session to a new venue.

A final decision on a new location for Blues Fest ’23 is yet to be made.

Blues CEO, Andrew Hore, said the club were gutted to make the tough call.

“As a club we were getting excited to head north for the pre-season,” said Hore.

“Unfortunately, the weather has conspired against us in recent weeks and when we met with Mahurangi Rugby Club on Friday, both parties agreed the field hadn’t responded how we would’ve hoped, and the call was made to move the event.”

Mahurangi Council of Clubs Delegate, Sam Ryburn, said the club were taking a philosophical view over the change.

“We were very much looking forward to hosting the Blues at Mahurangi for Blues Fest ’23,” said Ryburn.

“There’s not a lot we can do, both The Blues and our club explored all the options before coming to this decision, but we’re hoping to continue our relationship with the Blues and look at future options for hosting pre-season matches.”

The Blues still intend to host the entire Blues Fest ’23 programme including a ‘Game of Three Halves’ between North Harbour, Northland and Auckland development players, a nib Blues women open training session and the Blues men vs Hurricanes pre-season match.

A decision on where this will be held will be communicated in the coming days.

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Richie Mo’unga to depart Crusaders after 2023



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Mo’unga debuted for the Crusaders on 27 February 2016, facing the Chiefs at home and scoring 13 points. He made the starting line-up for the rest of the season.


“This team has given so much to me as a rugby player and as a person, and in return I’ve always wanted to give my everything to the team both on and off the field, to help us succeed, and to be the best environment for players,” Mo’unga said.


Asked about his star first-five’s departure after the 2023 season, Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said Mo’unga was “a special man”.


“If there’s one player that continues to leave their mark on this team, that’d be Richie Mo’unga,” Robertson said.


“Through his performances in the biggest games, the biggest moments – he stood up, which Crusaders do. He’s a special man, a local boy, pride of the community, and there’s no doubt about it – Richie can play.


“When Richie is on, the team is on. He brings out the best from all the players. For me, he is one of the most influential Super Rugby players ever – how he plays the game, his ability to score points consistently year after year in those crucial moments.


“The biggest thing for me with Richie is how much he cares about the team and the club, about the players he plays with and the people he plays for. He means a lot to the Crusaders and we wish him all the best. There’ll be a time to properly say goodbye to him at the end of the season, but for now we’re all focused on the job in front of us.”


Richie Mo’unga and the Crusaders kick off their 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season against the Chiefs on 24 February at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. Memberships are available now.

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

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