Crusaders welcome inclusion of Pacific franchises to Super Rugby

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson and halfback Mitchell Drummond say they are "really excited" to see the inclusion of two Pacific Island teams in Super Rugby.

New Zealand Rugby confirmed the addition of the two Pacific franchises in a new competition for 2022 at a media conference yesterday after months of rumours swirling around their involvement.

Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua have been granted conditional licences to join a new Super Rugby competition featuring New Zealand and Australian teams, and the Crusaders have thrown their support behind the move.

"It’s a start of a new chapter for New Zealand Rugby and these teams get to buy in and bring their own little bit of culture in," Robertson said.

"Playing in Fiji as well, that’s tough, the heat. It’s just another aspect to Super Rugby so we’re really excited about it."

Halfback Mitchell Drummond, who will bring up his 100th Super Rugby appearance against the Chiefs this weekend, reiterated his coach's sentiments.

"It’s been spoken about a little bit for the last couple of years but to hear it’s more than likely going to happen is really exciting.

"The flair that the Pacific Island teams and people play [with] is great for our game. We’ve all seen what those boys can do with the ball so I think it’s going to provide a lot of exciting rugby moving forward."

For Sir Bryan Williams, the announcement of two Pacific teams joining the likes of the Crusaders and Blues next year in a professional competition had been a moment 25 years in the making.

Sir Bryan added he expects Pacific talent to be on display right from the get-go - both on the field and in the coaches' box - and hopes to take some of that back to the islands as soon as possible.

"We hope games will take place in Nuku'alofa and Apia," he said.

"To be able to take a professional team back to the islands is going to be very emotional and very special."