There is no more successful team than the Crusaders in Super Rugby history having enjoyed a period of domestic dominance comparable to England’s Leicester Tigers.
The Crusaders won seven titles over a span of ten years but their last triumph arrived in 2008 and they have suffered a succession of near-misses since.
Last season the Crusaders improved on their previous campaign – their worst in 14 years – earning two extra wins and reaching the play-offs before ultimately losing to the Lions of Johannesburg.
With Sam Whitelock as captain in 2017, the Crusaders have made light of life after the departures of the former All Black captain Richie McCaw and their record points scorer Dan Carter, who now plies his trade at French side Racing 92.
Scott Robertson took over as head coach from Todd Blackadder, who now coaches Bath Rugby, and guided the Christchurch-based outfit to a perfect 12 from 12 start to the 2017 Super Rugby campaign.
Based in Christchurch, the franchise play their home games at AMI Stadium and will welcome the Lions for the third game of the 2017 Tour.
In addition to skipper Whitelock, All Blacks captain Kieran Read also turns out for the Crusaders while behind the scrum Israel Dagg and Ryan Crotty are both key figures in the back line.
While the Crusaders have not faced the Lions before, the provincial side of Canterbury have a storied history against the tourists.
In 1983 they claimed a famous victory over Jim Telfer’s side but in 1993 they were downed at Lancaster Park. But the most famous clash is undoubtedly the 14-9 win by the 1971 tourists in a brutal encounter on the eve of the first Test.
To view the Official Crusaders website, click here.