Sam White­lock’s Re­turn To Boost Crusaders Cam­paign

Fiji Sun - - SPORTS -

Welling­ton: The Crusaders have con­firmed a mas­sive boost for the hastily al­tered 2020 cam­paign with vet­eran test lock Sam White­lock re­turn­ing to the squad.

Coach Scott Robert­son con­firmed that White­lock’s Ja­pan con­tract ended in May any­way so the great All Black lock and for­mer cap­tain would be avail­able when Su­per Rugby Aotearoa kicks off in a month’s time.

Ex­pe­ri­ence will be a key in­gre­di­ent as teams play in empty sta­di­ums and in a se­ries of bru­tal all-New Zealand clashes be­cause of the virus cri­sis.

And White­lock’s pres­ence will only in­crease the Crusaders’ - who have won three con­sec­u­tive ti­tles - sta­tus as hot favourites to pre­vail once again.

The 2019 cap­tain White­lock was go­ing to miss this Su­per Rugby sea­son af­ter tak­ing up a con­tract with the Pana­sonic Wild Knights.

“Sam’s avail­able to play- it’s great to have him back,” said Robert­son, who had al­ready named another test lock Scott Bar­rett as his new cap­tain. White­lock told Sky Sport last month he was “pretty gut­ted’ the Ja­pan league was can­celled and would start talk­ing to the Crusaders and Can­ter­bury about join­ing them again.

Robert­son says the Crusaders will cre­ate their own at­mos­phere on the field to deal with the empty sta­di­ums. Robert­son told New­stalk ZB that the amount of ex­pe­ri­ence within the ranks of the cham­pi­ons put them in a good po­si­tion to deal with the empty sta­di­ums. “It’s a bit like train­ing isn’t it?,” he said. “It’s like any­thing. If you have a plan you can deal with it, deal with the unique­ness.

“You have to cre­ate your own at­mos­phere on the field, cre­ate that in­ten­sity, we’ve got a lot of ex­pe­ri­enced guys who can.

The first round sees Blues host­ing the Hur­ri­canes while High­landers take on the Chiefs. Crusaders are on bye.

Photo: TVNZ.

Vet­eran lock for­ward Sam White­lock re­turns from the can­celled Ja­pan League to join the Crusaders in the re­sump­tion of Su­per Rugby comp in New Zealand.

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