Leigh Halfpenny headlines Crusaders squad to face Munster and Bristol Bears

Jared Wright
Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny of Wales looks on after the game between Wales and England.

Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny of Wales looks on after the game between Wales and England.

New Crusaders head coach Rob Penney has named his travelling squad for the upcoming tour to the Northern Hemisphere.

The tour is a pre-season camp for the defending Super Rugby champions, who will face Bristol Bears and Munster in February.

The matches will be the first time the Crusaders have played outside of Australia, Fiji or New Zealand since the 2019 clash against the Stormers in Cape Town.

Crusaders squad

Several of the Crusaders‘ All Blacks stars have not made the trip out to England and Ireland, with the squad departing on Friday, January 26.

The likes of Scott Barrett, Ethan Blackadder, Braydon Ennor, David Havili, Will Jordan, Joe Moody, Sevu Reece, Codie Taylor and Tamaiti Williams will not make the trip north.

However, Penney has included some capped internationals, including props George Bower and Owen Franks. All Blacks back-rower Cullen Grace and ex-England international Willi Heinz have also been included.

Ryan Crotty is the only All Blacks backline player in the squad, but he is joined by former Wales and British and Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny.

Finally, All Blacks XV lock Quinten Strange will captain the side on tour.

“We’re very excited to get over there; the team is buzzing,” said Penney as he gears up to go up against his former club, Munster.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to connect before the 2024 season properly starts and to test ourselves against some mighty opponents.”

The Crusaders will face defending URC champions Munster on February 3 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork before tackling Bristol Bears on February 9 at Ashton Gate.

“Travelling together, lining up against some big names in front of some big crowds, it’ll be huge for us in our prep,” Penney added.

The clash against Munster will be broadcast on Sky NZ and TG4 in Ireland and worldwide. Meanwhile, the broadcaster for the clash against Bristol is still to be confirmed.

Crusaders squad

Forwards: George Bell, Josh Southall, Ioane Moananu, George Bower, Owen Franks, Sebastian Calder, Ryan Coxon, Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Angus Brown, Jamie Hannah, Quinten Strange (c), Liam Jack, Tahlor Cahill, Antonio Shalfoon, Fletcher Anderson, Dominic Gardiner, Corey Kellow, Tom Christie, Christian Lio-Willie, Cullen Grace

Backs: Mitchell Drummond, Willi Heinz, Noah Hotham, Taha Kemara, Rivez Reihana, Taine Robinson, Ryan Crotty, Dallas McLeod, Jone Rova, Levi Aumua, Manasa Mataele, Heremaia Murray, Macca Springer, Chay Fihaki, Jack Gray, Leigh Halfpenny

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