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Oli Jager Signs to 2024



Irish Prop Oli Jager has signed on with the Crusaders until 2024


The front rower has committed the next two years of his rugby career to the red and black after a hugely successful six years with the club, being part of 6 title winning squads in as many years.


Looking back on his Crusaders career so far, Jager said,


“I think I’ve become more mature as a player and a person. Growing with the team has been awesome. I’ve learnt a lot from some of the older guys, Sam Whitelock, Joe Moody, all those kind of guys who have been here since I started, also the guys who have gone. It’s been a big learning curve but I’m just excited to get back into it and help out some of the younger boys coming through as well.”


As a young kid growing up in Ireland, the thought of playing for the Crusaders seemed very out of reach,


“I grew up supporting Leinster but you always knew, after watching Super Rugby, the Crusaders were something special. To just have a chance to watch the Crusaders play live would have been something. The fact I’ve been able to come into the team and play for them – it’s something I can’t really describe, it’s more than a dream come true, it’s really something special and close to my heart. I love every time I step out on the field for them and these next couple of years is just an added cherry on top.”



Jager made his way into the Crusaders squad in 2017 via the Crusaders International High Performance Unit after an impressive debut provincial season with Canterbury in 2016.


Head Coach Scott Robertson has been coaching Jager since his first season with Canterbury. Razor’s influence on Jager cannot be overstated, according to the prop,


“He gave me my debut for Canterbury and Crusaders, there’s a lot of admiration towards him. He’s a great guy, a great coach and I’ve been really lucky to have him as my head coach for so long so I’m looking forward to doing it all again.”


A few new faces in the coaching group for the upcoming season brings excitement for Jager,


“It’s really exciting to see who’s coming in and what they’re going to do, the boys will get around them, we always back our players and coaches and trust each other, so whoever is coming in it’s going to be really exciting to see what kind of dynamic they bring, how they fit into the team and as long as we all want to come out and play footy and go well on the pitch then we’ll all get along.”


Jager’s adopted home of Christchurch is a place he has grown to love throughout his time here,


“I love the city, it’s a home away from home. Thanks to all the fans, the people I’ve met at my club, everything to do with rugby in Christchurch has made my time here really special and long may it continue.”


Jager will join the Crusaders during pre-season after Canterbury’s NPC season finishes.

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

Super Rugby

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.

Content & Images from – Blues Rugby

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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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