Culverden training for Crusaders

SIGNATURE: Joshua Jones,11, gets his shirt autographed by Andy Ellis after training in Culverden today.
SIGNATURE: Joshua Jones,11, gets his shirt autographed by Andy Ellis after training in Culverden today.
TRAINING: Dan Carter practices in Culverden today.
TRAINING: Dan Carter practices in Culverden today.
BIG CROWD: A crowd of Culverden children gathered for the Crusaders rugby team training today.
BIG CROWD: A crowd of Culverden children gathered for the Crusaders rugby team training today.
YOUNG FANS: Children keep an eye on the Crusaders rugby team training at Culverden today.
YOUNG FANS: Children keep an eye on the Crusaders rugby team training at Culverden today.
GOOD DAY: Young fans watch the Crusaders train in Culverden today.
GOOD DAY: Young fans watch the Crusaders train in Culverden today.
FUTURE STARS: The Crusaders trained in Culverden today, ahead of their game in Timaru tomorrow.
FUTURE STARS: The Crusaders trained in Culverden today, ahead of their game in Timaru tomorrow.

The Crusaders warmed up for their pre-season match against the Hurricanes in Timaru this weekend by training in the scorching North Canterbury heat.

In front of keen school kids and parents, the seven-time champions trained hard despite the mercury reaching the high 20s.

All Black first-five Dan Carter was the most popular among the locals, although halfback Andy Ellis was also popular among signature hunters.

The Crusaders' match against Hurricanes is their first of the pre-season and their opening Super Rugby match isn't until March 1, against the Blues in Auckland.

The season proper starts a week before that, though the Crusaders, who have made the competition's playoffs for the last 11 seasons, have a bye in week one.

The Press