NZ Rugby World

Leaders, Leaders Everywhere

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In skipper Codie Taylor, former captain Sam Whitelock, New Zealand Under 20 captain Tom Christie, Tasman captain Havili, along with Mo’unga, Goodhue and experience­d halfbacks Bryn Hall and Mitchell Drummond, the Crusaders have a huge amount of leadership. Perhaps the most important is the fiercely competitiv­e Whitelock, who elevated his game to new levels when taking over the captaincy from then All Blacks skipper Kieran Read in 2016, celebrated his 150th game for the

Crusaders last year and has been a foundation upon which Robertson has built his championsh­ip-winning outfit. Whitelock was scheduled to be absent from the Crusaders last year due to a sabbatical in Japan, but the coronaviru­s cut that short and he returned to Christchur­ch refreshed and eager to add another title to his impressive resume.

Current skipper Taylor has similarly thrived under the captaincy and has inherited Whitelock’s knack for knowing when to attack from penalties or when to take the three points, although with a lineout and driving maul as good as the Crusaders’, his decision-making is perhaps made a little easier.

First-five Mo’unga, who is still only 26, is also developing into a very influentia­l member of the squad, and Havili, who has re-signed with the Crusaders until the end of 2023, is another excellent backline leader.

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