Crusaders squad announced, Taylor taking a break

Cody Taylor is expected to be back for the later rounds of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season....
Cody Taylor is expected to be back for the later rounds of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season. Photo: Getty Images
The Crusaders squad for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season has been named - but they'll have to do without hard-working hooker Codie Taylor for part of it. 

The 85-test All Black will not be available for the start of the Super Rugby season, opting to take a non-playing sabbatical for the majority of the 2024 season. 

In a statement, the Crusaders said: “He’s been away from home for an extended period recently and the Crusaders fully respect and support him taking this time.

"Codie’s expected to be available for selection for the last few rounds of the ‘24 season.”

There were a few contenders to fill the Sam Whitelock-shaped hole in the Crusaders second row, but Zach Gallagher will be the prospect that most excites fans.

Zach Gallagher. Photo: Getty Images
Zach Gallagher. Photo: Getty Images
Gallagher, who made his debut in 2022, was a frequent member of the matchday 23 this season with 10 appearances from the bench and one start.

It would surprise no one to see Quinten Strange draw the starting role in Whitelock’s absence, however, Gallagher’s ability and work rate have shone in every chance he’s been given and he will challenge for that position; the versatile Dominic Gardiner another option for Rob Penney to consider as well. 

A highly touted star of the future, Gallagher will be well-placed to take another step in 2024 - be it off the bench or in the run-on squad. 

The rest of the Super Rugby Pacific franchises also named their squads for the 2024 season today.

A few big revelations have emerged already, with the Crusaders confirming the signing of Wales star Leigh Halfpenny and the return of former All Black Ryan Crotty..

The Crusaders squad named at 3pm on Thursday was:

Image: Crusaders
Image: Crusaders

- with NZ Herald