VIDEO: Crusaders duo explain why they chose loyalty over money
VIDEO: Crusaders duo explain why they chose loyalty over moneySHARE
The Crusaders have added both experience and emerging talent to their playing roster, with Ryan Crotty and Scott Barrett re-committing to New Zealand Rugby, the Crusaders and their respective provinces.
The 29-year-old Crotty has signed through to 2019 and said, in the end, it was an easy decision to sign on for another season.
"I took the time to consider my options, and it was clear to me that I still want to be playing my rugby here in New Zealand," Crotty said.
"Next year  will be my 11th season with the Crusaders, but I still feel as passionate and enthusiastic as I did when my career began.
"I'm thoroughly enjoying my time in this team and love turning up to work every day alongside great mates, so whether I am representing the All Blacks, Crusaders or Canterbury, I still have plenty of desire to play my best rugby for each of them and I look forward to being a part of these teams for the remainder of this season and in 2019," Crotty said.
Crotty progressed through the Canterbury and Crusaders development programmes, making his debut for Canterbury back in 2008.
He went on to make his Crusaders' debut against the Hurricanes in Christchurch the following year. Since then the midfielder has amassed an impressive 131 Super Rugby caps, notching up his 100 game milestone in front of a home crowd back in 2016.
In 2013 he made his All Blacks debut against the Wallabies in Sydney and has earned 35 caps in the black jersey to date.
Barrett also progressed through the Canterbury and Crusaders development programmes, making his provincial debut for Canterbury in 2014 and playing 19 games for the red and blacks before signing with Taranaki in 2017.
He first played for the Crusaders against England in June 2014 and made his official Super Rugby debut against the Blues in Christchurch a few weeks later. The 24-year-old earned his first cap for the All Blacks as a replacement player in 2016, scoring a superb try on debut in the All Blacks' historic match against Ireland in Chicago.
The young lock said the opportunity to continue his playing career in Christchurch through to 2020 was too good to pass up.
"I'm loving my time in the Crusaders environment, it's a healthy training environment to be a part of, with a passionate and motivated coaching group," Barrett said.
"The All Blacks and Crusaders teams are obviously hugely important to me and I am driven to perform at the highest level for both of them. For me personally, it's also special to re-commit to Taranaki Rugby and connect with my home province and the place where my rugby dream started.
"I want to continue to improve my game and contribute as best I can to rugby in New Zealand," Barrett added.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said he was thrilled to secure the world-class duo on his playing roster.
"These are two fantastic signings for us. Ryan is one of the great Crusaders, and is an important leader in our side," Robertson said.
"He's one of our vice-captains and provides a crucial voice in our midfield that his team-mates really respond to.
"He's a professional in every sense of the word, is composed under pressure and consistent in his performances.
"Likewise, Scott is a key signing and we are thrilled to have him commit through to 2020. He's still only a young man, but already has great experience to his name and an incredible work ethic. Scott is a lock of international quality and a champion bloke – he's rugged with ball in hand, athletic around the park and is a massive contributor to our side's culture.
"Both of these players genuinely care about this team and give 100 percent in training and out on the field. As a coaching group, we are privileged to have such quality men and high-calibre players in our group, adding to the Crusaders' legacy," Robertson added.
All Black Coach Steve Hansen said: "Scotty has come on leaps and bounds in recent seasons. He's a superb athlete for a relatively young player and has been working really hard to develop the skillset and size to compete at the highest level. We look forward to watching him grow even more over the next few seasons.
"We also welcome Crotts' re-signing. He's an outstanding footballer, is a key member in our backline and provides a cool, calm head, especially in high-pressure situations."