Forward duo extend stay with Crusaders
Christchurch - The Crusaders have secured two powerful forwards on their playing roster, with Jordan Taufua and Michael Alaalatoa both re-signing with the franchise
Taufua has committed to a seventh season with the Crusaders, having made his debut against the Stormers in Cape Town back in 2013. The loose forward earned his 50th Super Rugby cap during the 2016 season, and proved an integral member of last year’s championship winning team, missing just one game during the successful 2017 campaign.
"The Crusaders have been such a big part of my rugby career and after weighing up my options, it was clear that this is where I want to be," Taufua told the Crusaders' official website.
"I still feel like I have a lot to contribute and I’m loving playing my rugby alongside some of the world's best players, who are also great mates, and a passionate coaching group.
"2017 was a special season but each campaign brings new ideas, new faces and a fresh challenge. So although a seventh season makes me one of the more experienced players in the group, I’m still thriving in this environment, learning more and more about my game and developing as a leader in the team."
Born in Auckland, Taufua made his provincial debut in 2012 for Tasman and has since played for Canterbury and Counties Manukau, before returning to Tasman for the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup season. He has 64 provincial caps to his name, as well as 71 Super Rugby caps for the Crusaders. Taufua previously represented the New Zealand U17s, Samoa U20s, and was a member of the New Zealand U20 team in 2012.
Alaalatoa joined the Crusaders in 2016, after kicking off his Super Rugby career with the Waratahs in his place of birth, Sydney. The 26-year old tighthead prop has 38 Super Rugby caps to date and represents the Manawatu Turbos in the Mitre 10 Cup. He’s started in all four of the Crusaders matches so far in 2018 and has re-signed through to 2020.
"I started my Super Rugby career in 2014, but made the move to New Zealand to play in the provincial competition here, with the hope of securing a Super Rugby contract," said Alaalatoa.
"I’m grateful to have signed with the Crusaders back then and it was an easy decision to commit to this team for the next two seasons and continue to grow my game here.
"This Crusaders group is really tight-knit and we have a strong team culture led by the coaches and senior players. I’m excited to be able to contribute to that culture over the coming seasons, and add to the proud history of this team."
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson believes both signings were testament to the players’ loyalty and passion for the Crusaders jersey.
"It’s exciting to have players of Jordan and Mikes’ calibre re-commit to the Crusaders," he said.
"Both have been integral members of this side already this year and I have no doubt they will continue to play an important role throughout the 2018 season and beyond.