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Crusaders crowned 2024 Super Rugby Under 20 Champions

Crusaders crowned 2024 Super Rugby Under 20 Champions

NZRUMarch 25, 2024

Crusaders crowned 2024 Super Rugby Under 20 Champions

The Crusaders Under 20 team have been crowned the 2024 Super Rugby Under 20 Champions. 

In wet conditions at Owen Delany Park in Taupō, the Crusaders put together a dominant performance over the Chiefs, leading through the match and claiming the 31-17 win. 

It’s the first title for the Crusaders at this level. Wins over the Highlanders on Day One and the Blues in the semi finals set them on the path to the Finals match up against the Chiefs. 

Hurricanes loose forward Mosese Bason joins the impressive list of players who have won the Sir John Graham Player of the Tournament award, following in the footsteps of current All Blacks Luke Jacobson and Fletcher Newell. 

Bason showed his strong work rate across all three game days, the dynamic loose forward impressing selectors with his effort with ball in hand and on defence. 

Finals day kicked off with the New Zealand Barbarians playing Moana Pasifika. The Baabaas started strongly with some set piece tries that were straight out of a Barbarians playbook, and led 21-0 after as many minutes. 

Moana Pasifika responded with three tries and narrowed the deficit to 21-15 but the Baabaas scored two late tries to win 36-15. 

The Highlanders finished their weekend off with a big 59-19 win over Fiji Drua, with captain Josh Whaanga and Max Ratcliffe picking up doubles. 

The Hurricanes held out a strong Blues outfit to claim third place. Scoring three first half tries, they were forced to defend for long periods in the second spell to hold on to their 24-19 winning margin. 

The final day’s play was the culmination a week-long tournament, the fourth of its kind to be hosted in Taupō. 

The purpose of the tournament is to provide a platform for talent identification for the New Zealand Under 20s along with on and off field development for emerging players, coaches and wider management. 

This year, players attended a development session with Sir John Kirwan on mental wellbeing, a Q&A with All Blacks Coaches Leon MacDonald and Jason Ryan and players Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Leroy Carter and Mitch Karpik. 

New Zealand Rugby High Performance Player Development Manager Matt Sexton said the tournament has reaffirmed the country’s ability to produce quality rugby players. 

“Once again this tournament has delivered on and off the field. We have seen some great matches contested between the eight teams and enjoyed some quality development opportunities throughout the week. 

“I am confident the New Zealand Under 20 coaches will have been happy with the players they have seen in action and will now work towards naming a 30-player squad for the upcoming Under 20 Rugby Championship in Australia,” said Sexton. 

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