New Zealand rugby has been given a boost with the news that centre Ryan Crotty has extended his stay there for one more year.
Nelson-born Crotty has put pen to paper on a deal which will see him turn out for the All Blacks, Crusaders and Canterbury for another year.
A clever footballer, the 28-year-old has earned 27 caps for his country and scored five tries since making his debut against Australia in 2013.
After weighing up his options he came to the decision that it wasn’t the right time for him to move abroad yet.
“I like to take things one year at a time and when I thought about where I could picture myself in 2018, I just didn’t feel like my time here in New Zealand was up yet,” he told the Crusaders’ official website.
Stressing the enjoyment he still gets from playing his rugby in his homeland he added:
“I still get a thrill each time I pull on the black or red and black jerseys and I feel really motivated to perform for those teams.
“I genuinely think I have my best rugby in me yet and I want to play that rugby for the teams I have grown up supporting and who I feel so honoured to play for now.”
It has been an injury-interrupted last six weeks or so for the hard-running midfielder who pulled a hamstring early on in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions, which saw him miss the rest of the series.
The injury frustratingly came in his first game back after a rib injury sustained playing for the Crusaders had made a doubt for the important Test.
His loss in midfield was a big blow to Steve Hansen with the All Blacks missing his calming influence and ability to organise a defence.
A Crusaders stalwart, ‘Crotts’, as he is affectionately known, has made over 100 appearances for the Christchurch-based franchise since making his debut back in 2009.
A natural leader, he has led his franchise on different occasions and alongside Matt Todd is one of the Crusaders’ vice-captains.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was justifiably delighted with Crotty’s decision to stay in The Land of the Long White Cloud.
“We are delighted that ‘Crotts’ has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby. He’s an incredibly valuable member of the All Blacks, is a smart footballer and provides us with a cool, calm, collected presence in the midfield.”
While Scott Robertson, head coach at the Crusaders, lauded the midfielder’s leadership skills and professionalism.
“Crotts is one of our Super Rugby centurions and an important member of our leadership group. He is an utter professional in the way he prepares and performs, and is a superb role model for other players.”
The experienced Crotty’s decision to stay in Christchurch is a shot in the arm for Super Rugby’s most successful franchise as they prepare for their home quarter-final against the Highlanders on Saturday.
Crotty is expected to return from injury for Saturday’s clash as the Crusaders seek to win their first Super Rugby crown since 2008.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena