For Sanders it is a return to red and black, after spending the 2015
season in the Crusaders Wider Training Group and then signing to the
Chiefs for the last two years. Sanders said he is grateful for the
opportunities that he got at the Chiefs, but joining the Crusaders is a
“I grew up in Little River, played for Lincoln University, and started
my professional career with the Canterbury provincial team, so there is
no doubt that this is home. I feel very fortunate to have been offered a
contract with the Crusaders so that I can now live and play in the one
place for the full year and represent the region where I grew up,”
“I have enjoyed my two years at the Chiefs and I will remain grateful
to them for giving me the chance to start my Super Rugby career.”
Sanders is currently preparing for the upcoming provincial season with
Canterbury, who he debuted for in 2014. The Banks Peninsula boy was a
bolter into the NZ Under-20 squad that same year, attending only the
final camp but making it to the team and becoming one of the standout
forwards at the Junior World Rugby Championship.
He has also represented the New Zealand Universities team, played in
the Lincoln High School first XV for three years and was part of the New
Zealand Schools Academy.
Samu is re-signing to the Crusaders for a third season, having debuted
in 2016 against the Blues. He said he is excited about continuing with
the successful side after playing a substantial role in the Super Rugby
title win just 10 days ago.
“I am loving playing in this team and there is no way I could turn down
an offer to play here again next year after the season we’ve just had.
We have some awesome loose forward talent here at the Crusaders, and
that keeps pushing me to be my best, so I know that this is the best
place for me to keep learning and growing my game,” Samu said.
Samu is Melbourne-born and did a stint in the Waratahs Wider Training
Group before moving to New Zealand in 2014.
He played club rugby in
Nelson, earning a call-up to the Tasman Makos later that year. In 2015
the dynamic ball-runner was named the Player of the Year for the
Crusaders Knights development team, and got called into the Crusaders
squad towards the end of that season as injury cover.
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said the two loose forwards would
bring their own unique style to the squad, but what they shared was an
awesome work ethic and some impressive power and speed.
“Pete Samu has an explosiveness and a flair factor that creates
opportunities. He has been huge for us this year and we look forward to
seeing him continue to make his mark in 2018. Tom Sanders was a
midfield back until he converted to loose forward in his teens, and he
still shows the speed of a back but also has a massive motor and a
really gritty, tough element to him, which we love.
These are both players who we know we can rely on not only to perform
their roles but to make the team better every time they play,”