Taufua sets out on final Crusaders campaign

Jordan Taufua 1582072724

Named for the All Blacks last year for the June series, Taufua was unable to play due to injury but did play for the Barbarians at the end of the season.

A prominent force in the Crusaders for six seasons, with 81 Super Rugby games, Taufua said he felt it was important to make his decision public before the Super season started so he could turn his focus on making the most of his final campaign.

It wasn't easy to decide to move on from New Zealand, he said.

"I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to wear both the Crusaders and Mako jerseys over a long period of time, but for me this is the next step in my rugby career," he said.

"It was a dream come true to be named in the All Blacks for the first time and, while it was disappointing not to take the field, I still have aspirations to pull on the black jersey this year. Between that goal, and the opportunity to win another Super Rugby title with the Crusaders, I'm looking forward to throwing all of my energy into 2019," he said.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Taufua brought energy to the side. He was a beast on the field and a great man off it.

"We know he's a special rugby player, but it's his community work and unique connection to our fans that makes him a special person as well. While we'll certainly miss having him around in 2020 we respect his decision, and our job as a team is to put a champion Crusader on the podium one last time," he said.

Tasman Mako chief executive Tony Lewis said Taufua was a team man first with humility and unassailable grit and a 'who dares wins' attitude.

"He is a genuine leader on and off the pitch. Jordan has been a key part of Mako rugby, winning two Mako Man awards as player of the season and we wish him all the best, but look forward to his swansong in 2019," he said.

Jordan Taufua 1582072724