Crusaders to unleash Ioane in Brisbane
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: The Crusaders have named a strong side to contest the inaugural Brisbane Global Tens competition on February 11 and 12.
All Black Seta Tamanivalu and fellow international Digby Ioane have been named in the squad, while Israel Dagg will travel with the group in his tournament ambassador role, but not take the field.
All Black Luke Romano would have been named in the squad but has unfortunately been ruled out of the tournament with an injury.
The remainder of the squad is a mix of new talent who will be keen to shine at the tournament, and highly experienced players who will bring vital knowledge and match experience to the group.
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said the chance to play in a well-attended tournament in the pre-season would be great preparation for the Super Rugby season ahead.
"It is exciting to be involved in a new tournament like this in it's first year, and getting to play in front of a noisy crowd is also valuable preparation in the pre-season. We are looking forward to fielding a really strong squad at the Tens and showcasing what we're capable of. We have some tough competition, so it will be a really good test of where we are at before the Super season starts," Robertson said.
The Crusaders will play in what looks to be one of the toughest pools of the competition. They will face unknown quantity Samoa in their opening match, before taking on tournament host Reds and traditional rival Blues.
The Brisbane Global Rugby Tens features all ten professional franchises from Australia and New Zealand, along with French powerhouse Toulon, Japanese Top League side Panasonic Wild Knights, the Bulls from South Africa and the Samoan national team. The tournament takes place at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
Crusaders squad: Bryn Hall, Ben Funnell, Leon Fukofuka, Andrew Makalio, Mitchell Hunt, Tim Perry, Digby Ioane, Chris Gawler, George Bridge, Michael Alaalatoa, Sione Fifita, Oliver Jager, David Havili, Mitchell Dunshea, Tim Bateman, Quinten Strange, Jack Goodhue, Pete Samu, Seta Tamanivalu, Jordan Taufua, Manasa Mataele, Jed Brown, Sean Wainui, Whetu Douglas, Marty McKenzie.