New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has secured the signatures of two more key players, with experienced midfielder Ryan Crotty and lock Scott Barrett re-committing to the national body, the BNZ Crusaders and their respective provinces.
The announcement is further great news for NZR, coming on the back of confirmation that All Blacks and Blues prop Ofa Tuungafasi has committed for three more years.
Scott Barrett, who has played 16 Tests, has signed through to 2020 with 35-Test veteran Crotty recommitting for one more year.
29-year-old Crotty said in the end it was an easy decision to sign on for another season.
“I took the time to consider my options, and it was clear to me that I still want to be playing my rugby here in New Zealand.
“2019 will be my 11th season with the Crusaders, but I still feel as passionate and enthusiastic as I did when my career began. I’m thoroughly enjoying my time in this team and love turning up to work every day alongside great mates, so whether I am representing the All Blacks, Crusaders or Canterbury, I still have plenty of desire to play my best rugby for each of them and I look forward to being a part of these teams for the remainder of this season and in 2019,” Crotty said.
24-year-old Barrett said the opportunity to continue his playing career in Christchurch through to 2020 was too good to pass up.
“I’m loving my time in the Crusaders environment, it’s a healthy training environment to be a part of, with a passionate and motivated coaching group.
“The All Blacks and Crusaders teams are obviously hugely important to me and I am driven to perform at the highest level for both of them. For me personally, it’s also special to re-commit to Taranaki Rugby and connect with my home province and the place where my rugby dream started. I want to continue to improve my game and contribute as best I can to rugby in New Zealand,” Barrett said.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Scotty has come on leaps and bounds in recent seasons. He’s a superb athlete for a relatively young player and has been working really hard to develop the skillset and size to compete at the highest level. We look forward to watching him grow even more over the next few seasons.
“We also welcome Crotts’ re-signing. He’s an outstanding footballer, is a key member in our backline and provides a cool, calm head, especially in high-pressure situations.”
BNZ Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said he was thrilled to secure the world-class duo on his playing roster.
“These are two fantastic signings for us. Ryan is one of the great Crusaders, and is an important leader in our side. He’s one of our vice-captains and provides a crucial voice in our midfield that his teammates really respond to. He’s a professional in every sense of the word, is composed under pressure and consistent in his performances.
“Likewise, Scott is a key signing and we are thrilled to have him commit through to 2020. He’s still only a young man, but already has great experience to his name and an incredible work ethic. Scott is a lock of international quality and a champion bloke – he’s rugged with ball in hand, athletic around the park and is a massive contributor to our side’s culture.
“Both of these players genuinely care about this team and give 100 percent in training and out on the field. As a coaching group, we are privileged to have such quality men and high-calibre players in our group, adding to the Crusaders’ legacy,” Robertson said.
Canterbury Head Coach Joe Maddock said: “Ryan is a proud Canterbury man and epitomises all of the great qualities we encourage among our young playing group. We’re really proud of his achievements for Canterbury, the Crusaders and the All Blacks and we’re excited that he has made the decision to remain in New Zealand in 2019.”
Taranaki Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Jeremy Parkinson said he was delighted that Scott Barrett was recommitting to his home province.
Barrett was born and raised in the rural coastal Taranaki settlement of Pungarehu, played all his junior rugby for the Coastal rugby club and attended and played rugby for Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth.
“Scott is the prime example of the NZ Rugby pathway, where a young kid can grow up in any province – in this case Taranaki – and come through the ranks to represent the All Blacks. Scott re-signing with Taranaki epitomises what our province is trying to promote in our community. It keeps the dream alive for all the 6,788 registered rugby players in the area, that you can play rugby in your home region and become an All Black from anywhere in New Zealand.”
Ryan Crotty progressed through the Canterbury and Crusaders development programmes, making his debut for Canterbury back in 2008. He went on to make his BNZ Crusaders’ debut against the Hurricanes in Christchurch the following year. Since then the midfielder has amassed an impressive 131 Investec Super Rugby caps, notching up his 100-game milestone in front of a home crowd back in 2016. In 2013 he made his All Blacks debut against the Wallabies in Sydney and has earned 35 caps in the black jersey to date.
Scott Barrett also progressed through the Canterbury and Crusaders development programmes, making his provincial debut for Canterbury in 2014 and playing 19 games for the red and blacks, before signing with Taranaki in 2017. He first played for the Crusaders against England in June 2014, and made his official Investec Super Rugby debut against the Blues in Christchurch a few weeks later. He earned his first cap for the All Blacks off the bench in 2016, scoring a superb try on debut in the All Blacks’ historic match against Ireland in Chicago.