The Crusaders have consolidated their future by locking in three of their top young prospects.
Mitchell Hunt and George Bridge have signed on until 2019, while Mitchell Drummond has signed until 2020 as the Crusaders look to retain their young core of the team which currently sits with a 14-0 record in this year's Super Rugby competition.
With Hunt and Bridge both just 22 years old and Drummond one year older, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says they possess plenty of upside.
"We have an incredible group of young players in this squad who have stepped up and impressed with their talent this year. These three players are a shining example of that. We are thrilled to have re-signed them all," Robertson said.
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Hunt and Drummond both hail from the Tasman region and played together in the Nelson College First XV, while Drummond and Bridge both play for the High School Old Boys club in Christchurch. The three of them live together in Drummond's house and say their friendship played a factor in re-signing for the team.
"We all know how incredibly lucky we are to be able to play rugby with our good friends for a living. Not many people get to make a career by playing the sport they love with their best mates, and none of us takes that for granted, so getting the opportunity to sign up to continue doing that for a couple more years was a bit of a no-brainer really," said Bridge, who has scored eight tries in 14 games this season.
Drummond has provided a steady hand at halfback alongside Bryn Hall, while Hunt has played match-winner with a stunning 43 metre drop goal against the Highlanders, and a last-gasp penalty against the Reds.
The Crusaders are back in action this weekend, playing the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday night.