Ultimate Accolade for Wyatt Crockett for 200th Super Rugby cap

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Ultimate Accolade for Wyatt Crockett for 200th Super Rugby cap
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 04: Wyatt Crockett speaks to the media following a Crusaders Super Rugby training session at Rugby Park on July 4, 2018 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

What do you give to a man who has achieved so much in rugby? A multiple-Super Rugby title holder, Rugby World Cup winner and one of the more enduring players in recent memory. Well, for Wyatt Crockett, the Crusaders decided to rename the Stadium after him.

Renamed ‘Wyatt Crockett Stadium’ for this Friday nights match against the Highlanders, in honour of the prop reaching 200 caps for the Super Rugby franchise; which is fitting. Even while Crockett is both humble and quiet, that number is significant – so should be applauded loudly.

Ultimate Accolade for Wyatt Crockett for 200th Super Rugby cap

Often, making so much of one man can be seen as more ‘commercial’ than sincere. But for Wyatt Crockett’s appreciation, the endeavour is honest and wholesome. He holds a place of reverence; in deeds and also in his character.

For such a tall man, propping seems to be unsuited, but many will say that through his over 3500 scrums across his Super Rugby career in red and black, that he has virtually perfected it. He is now considered to be one of the better props, after he made his provincial rugby debut for Canterbury in 2005.

The Wyatt Crockett biography for the Crusaders marvels at the players ‘team first ethos’ and the huge workrate and, impressive mobility around the park. Established now as both a starter, and as an impact player from the bench, he can fill both roles skillfully.

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said, “To reach 200 games at this level takes an immense amount of talent, commitment, and personal sacrifice over a long period of time, and Crocky certainly sets the benchmark for passion and professionalism among our group.

“Crocky continues to make a massive contribution to the Crusaders jersey in what is his 13th season with the club. He’s well-respected by the squad and management alike, and is the ultimate team man. We are proud to be able to celebrate this achievement with him,” Robertson was quoted by New Zealand Rugby.

Final season for Wyatt Crockett could add another Super title

When he runs out on the aptly renamed Wyatt Crockett Stadium, the player knows his role. Up against the Highlanders, the team will want to reverse the 25-17 loss down in Dunedin. That will be the goal, ahead of the next stage for the group – the Finals Series.

So the player can be extremely proud of the accomplishment on Friday night. 200 Super Rugby caps, and holding the current record. But competing; to the highest level, where he  an indelible mark. If Crockett is to add to his three Super Rugby titles, he will sit even higher up in an elite club.

He would join Richie McCaw, Rueben Thorne [five-time], Todd Blackadder, Greg Sommerville. Be recognized alongside Daniel Carter, Andrew Mehrtens, Caleb Ralph and Leon MacDonald, as multiple champions. But crucially, the numbers are not important to Crockett.

A man who shuns publicity, he is more comfortable in the team. And in his recent decision to retire from International rugby, it was not to then proceed to the highest bidder. In a true example of Kiwi rugby-values, he ‘went against the trend’ and will finish his playing career in New Zealand.

Crockett’s choice is An amazing, but valued act of placing ‘the game’ before himself.

Crusaders honour Wyatt Crockett/Welcome back Kieran Read

As well as the accolades presented to ‘Croczilla’ on the night, will be a recognition that 2017 All Blacks captain Kieran Read will return to an Super Rugby field. Absent since the successful last Crusaders season, he will be amped up to get his first run out.

Although, his involvement will likely be limited. With only some club and a trial match for the Counties-Manukau Mitre 10 Cup squad, Read has ‘not a hell of a great deal’ of rugby behind him. So head coach Scott Robertson could relieve him before the end of the first half. Because he has Jordan Taufua to substitute…..and boy, what a sub!

So while the celebration for Wyatt Crockett is a leading identifier for the Friday night clash, it is another crucial local derby. Four or possibly five competition points involved. A win would see the Crusaders sew-up their home quarter-final place. But, the Highlanders will be out to spoil the party. Out to beat the champions on their home patch, for the first time in two whole years.

So after the usual fireworks of another New Zealand inter-conference clash have died down, Crockett will stand tall in front of the crowd – within the aptly named Wyatt Crockett Stadium – and humbly accept the honours. And if his team has (most likely) triumphed, then the night will surely be worth celebrating.

“Main photo credit”
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