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Crusaders ready for Munster showdown

Crusaders ready for Munster showdown

All BlacksJanuary 30, 2024

Defending DHL Super Rugby Pacific champions, the Crusaders will open their season against Munster in Cork on Sunday, NZT.

A week later, they will play the Bristol Bears on Saturday, February 9, at Bristol.

It is the Crusaders' first trip out of the South Pacific since their round 14 game against the Stormers in Cape Town in 2019.

New coach Rob Penney said the side was buzzing at the opportunity their short tour provides for pre-season competition.

Munster, a long-time rival for New Zealand sides, including their famous win over the All Blacks in 1978, holds the United Rugby Championship, which involves teams from Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales.

Bristol, coached by former All Black and Manu Samoa international and Blues coach Pat Lam, plays in the Premiership in England.

Penney said, "Travelling together, lining up against some big names in front of some big crowds, it'll be huge for us in our prep [preparation]."

The game with Munster will be played at Pairc Ul Chaoimh, a Gaelic football ground, which will host a rugby game for only the second time. A crowd of 40,885 is expected.

Will the era of @crusadersrugby dominance come to an end in 2024? 🏆

Tell us who YOU think will win the #SuperRugbyPacific title this season 🧐⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Wf1JVzBeio

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) January 29, 2024

Munster Rugby chief executive Ian Flanagan said there was great excitement ahead of the game.

"The fact the Pairc Ul Chaoimh is hosting a Munster rugby game just the second time adds to the sense of occasion and allows for a wider audience to witness the landmark event.

"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."

Bristol Bears chief executive Gavin Marshall said, "Everybody at Bristol Bears is hugely excited to welcome the Crusaders.

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

"The 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."

The Munster game will kick off at 6am and be screened on Sky Sport 2.

Northern Tour ‘24 🛫🇮🇪🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Read more: https://t.co/RvrZYR4AMa pic.twitter.com/z7KuhGumQP

— Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) January 26, 2024

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