The Crusaders travel to the North as they reveal squad

The Crusaders travel to the North as they reveal squad

Tasman Mako lock Quinten Strange will lead the Crusaders during their Northern Tour when the reigning Super Rugby champions come up against Munster and the Bristol Bears next month.

The Crusaders flew to Europe on Friday morning ahead of their first matches outside of New Zealand, Australia and Fiji since 2019.

Munster will host the visitors on a historic matchday in Cork on February 3, with traditional Gaelic Football venue Pairc Ui Chaoimh as the setting for this unique rugby challenge.

That match will pit the best team in the southern hemisphere – the Crusaders have won seven Super Rugby titles in as many years – against the defending United Rugby Championship winners.

The following week, English Premiership side the Bristol Bears will take on Rob Penney’s side at Ashton Gate Stadium on Friday, February 9.

“We’re very excited to get over there, the team is buzzing,” Head Coach Rob Penney said in a statement.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to connect before the 2024 season properly starts, and to test ourselves against some mighty opponents.

“Travelling together, lining up against some big names in front of some big crowds, it’ll be huge for us in our prep.”

Pairc Ui Chaoimh will host a rugby union match for just the second time. The clash between Munster and the Crusaders is expected to draw in 40,885 supporters.

The match pits one of the world’s best northern hemisphere sides against the champions from down south. Munster defeated the Stormers in last year’s URC final – a competition between Irish, Italian, Scottish, South African and Welsh sides.

“The fact that Pairc Ui Chaoimh is hosting Munster Rugby game for just the second time adds to the sense of occasion and allows for a wider audience to witness the landmark event,” Flanagan said.

“We have a rich history against touring sides and they are special for the club and our supporters, we’re really looking forward to welcoming the world-renowned Crusaders to Munster.”

The Crusaders will create more headlines against the Bears – playing at the same venue the All Blacks defeated Tonga at during the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol is also a host venue for the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Bristol Sport Group CEO, Gavin Marshall, said it would be “an historic occasion for the city” to host the champion Crusaders next month.

“Everybody at Bristol Bears is hugely excited to be welcoming the Crusaders to Bristol next month,” Marshall discussed.

“We’re also seeing the excitement within our fanbase, with tickets selling at an impressive rate and on course for another bumper crowd at Ashton Gate.

“TH unique nature of this fixture is also appealing to rugby fans across the country, and the expat community, as we prepare to host one of the greatest club sides on the planet.”

New Zealanders can watch the Crusaders versus Munster live on Sky Sport 2. The match will get underway at 6 am. TG4 will cover the match in Ireland.

Crusaders versus Bristol won’t be broadcast on Sky.

Crusaders’ Northern Tour 2024 Travelling Squad

George Bell, Josh Southall, Ioane Moananu, George Bower, Owen Franks, Sebastian Calder, Ryan Coxon, Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Angus Brown, Jamie Hannah, Quinten Strange (c), Liam Jack, Taylor Cahill, Antonio Shalfoon, Fletcher Anderson, Dominic Gardiner, Corey Kellow, Tom Christie, Christian Lio-Willie, Cullen Grace, Mitchell Drummond, Willi Heinz, Noah Hotham, Taha Kermara, Rivez Reihana, Taine Robinson, Ryan Crotty, Dallas McLeod, Jone Rova, Levi Aumua, Manasa Mataele, Heremaia Murray, Macca Springer, Chay Fihaki, Jack Gray, Leigh Halfpenny

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