Reece makes early statement for Crusaders

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The top try scorer with 15 tries in Investec Super Rugby last year, Reece, pictured, signed a year extension last week to his contract with both the Crusaders and New Zealand Rugby which will see him through until 2022. He made his Test debut last season, appearing in seven Tests while scoring four tries.

Reece said it had been an easy decision to extend his contract with both the Crusaders and New Zealand Rugby.

"Last year was a big year for me. Now it's up to me, I just need to back that up this year. I've really loved the environment here and I've worked with some coaches and really good players so it was a really easy decision for me to make," he said.

And the signs are that he is well on the way, although the loss on his old home ground with Waikato had not been what the Crusaders wanted.

But Reece said the game had been exactly what they expected, especially against the Chiefs.

"You saw on Saturday it was high intensity, just full on, but I guess another thing about it is we've got this whole week to build on things that need to get better."

He said the side tried to push things too hard and the basics had suffered and ultimately contributed to the losing of the game.

Taking advantage of the extended break after the World Cup campaign he had gone back to Fiji and enjoyed the sun. But coming back into the Crusaders environment he felt full of energy and ready to go. He felt well rested

Changes in coaching personnel especially for the backs, having lost Ronan O'Gara and Brad Mooar, had been minimal and he said Scott Hansen had proved to be an awesome replacement and he was confident he and Welshman Mark Jones would fill the space well.

He also explained the changed away jersey the team unveiled in Hamilton. It was blue in colour and said the players had talked about the jersey, it was made of recycled materials which was good for the environment. They were wearing the jersey with pride.

"It's not just good for us players but for the whole of New Zealand," he said.

It didn't detract from the Crusaders' identity and it had a really good story behind it and they were proud to represent it, he said.


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