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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.
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:
- with NZ Herald