Romano joins Super Rugby century club
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Crusaders lock Luke Romano is set to become the 18th Crusader to reach 100 Investec Super Rugby games, having been named on the bench for the side’s match against the Stormers.
The 32-year-old joins seven of his current teammates in reaching the milestone: Wyatt Crockett, Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Ryan Crotty, Sam Whitelock, Israel Dagg and Matt Todd have all played more than 100 Super Rugby games, and only Dagg has reached the ton having also played for another Super Rugby side the Highlanders.
Romano said it was special to join a select group of current and former Crusaders, who have all played an important role in shaping Crusaders rugby.
"It’s a huge honour to play for this team, and I never would have dreamed of reaching 100 games when I made my debut in Timaru seven years ago.
"There’s a fantastic culture within the side that drives you to turn up each and every week and play the best rugby you can for your team mates, coaches, family and supporters. It’s certainly what has driven me to this milestone and I know it’s something special that I’ll look back on with a great deal of pride," Romano said.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Romano’s Crusaders teammates were determined to celebrate the milestone with a good performance against the Stormers.
"Luke is a valued member of our team, and has given his all every time he's taken the field for the Crusaders over the past seven seasons. He had an immense 2017 campaign and was an important part of our success, so I know the boys will want to put a performance befitting this milestone on the field come Saturday night.
"100 Super Rugby games is a real testament to Luke's character; he's not only an uncompromising competitor, but is also a loyal Crusaders man and a great leader. It's a special milestone and one we look forward to celebrating with Luke and his family," Robertson said.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said: “On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I’d like to congratulate Luke on reaching this special milestone. He joins a pretty special club of New Zealand players to have reached 100 Super games, his loyalty to the game is certainly appreciated and he and his family can be rightly proud of everything he has achieved in the Crusaders jersey,"
Born in Nelson, Romano made his first-class debut against his home province, Tasman, for Canterbury back in 2009. Two years later he became Crusader #154 when he made his Super Rugby debut against the Bulls in Timaru. Romano earned his first Test cap the following year against Ireland in Hamilton and has now worn the black jersey on 31 occasions.
Last week, Romano played his 100th Crusaders game, which included his start against the British and Irish Lions in June 2017.