May 18, 2007
Twenty one Crusaders have been called up for international duty after a busy day on the selection front, which was highlighted by the inclusion of six Crusaders in the 2007 All Blacks squad.
All six – Leon MacDonald, Aaron Mauger, Daniel Carter, Richard McCaw, Reuben Thorne and Chris Jack – were members of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup conditioning programme earlier in the year.
A further 11 Crusaders have been included in the 26-man Junior All Blacks party for the second Pacific Six Nations, with their number including first year Crusader Kieran Read.
The blindside flanker featured in all 14 matches played by the Crusaders during his freshman Super rugby year.
Read is joined in New Zealand’s second selection by Campbell Johnstone, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett, Ross Filipo, Mose Tuiali’i, Andrew Ellis, Stephen Brett, Casey Laulala, Scott Hamilton and Rico Gear.
The Junior All Blacks, who assemble on Monday, play the first match of their programme in Samoa next weekend.
Today’s selection follows Monday’s naming of the New Zealand Maori squad for the Churchill Cup in England, which saw Rua Tipoki, Isaac Ross and Ben May all called up.
Tipoki captains the New Zealand Maori team for the first time while Ross and May are on debut for the side, which was scheduled to depart to England for the tournament tonight.
There was also Crusaders representation in the New Zealand Under-21 squad that was announced earlier this week for a one off match against the touring Canadian side, with second-five-eighths Tim Bateman earning selection following three Super rugby appearances this year.
The 20-year-old – the 21st member of the Crusaders class of 2007 to earn national honours – is one of five Canterbury players to have made the New Zealand Colts.
The others are James Broadhurst, Owen Franks – the younger brother of Crusaders prop Ben Franks, James Patterson and Colin Slade.