first_imgBoth players began their Super Rugby careers 10 years ago, Bateman with the Crusaders and Delany with the Highlanders, and both have returned to New Zealand rugby after playing a number of seasons overseas.Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said the pair’s experience will be invaluable to the team as they attempt to go back-to-back.”Tim and Mike are both playing outstanding rugby for their respective provincial teams, Canterbury and Bay of Plenty, and proving that they still have a heck of a lot to offer New Zealand rugby.””These are two very important signings for us, because of what they can bring in terms of skillset, versatility, leadership and a wealth of experience.”Bateman left the Crusaders in 2010 to play in Japan, then returned for three seasons with the Hurricanes before again heading to Japan in 2014 when his wife required treatment for multiple sclerosis. In 2017 he made the move back home to Christchurch and played seven games for the Crusaders as the team marched towards the Super Rugby title. Photo by: MARTIN HUNTER/PHOTOSPORT Caption: Tim Bateman will link up again with the Crusaders in Super Rugby. Delany, who covers first five and fullback, spent the 2007 and 2012 seasons with the Highlanders and played for the Chiefs in between. He also earned one cap for the All Blacks in 2009, against Italy in the end of year tour. Delany has spent the past six seasons playing overseas, for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan, then Clermont Auvergne in France, and most recently the Newcastle Falcons in England. He returned to New Zealand in time to join Bay of Plenty for this year’s Mitre 10 Cup season.The 35-year-old said it was an awesome opportunity to continue his career with the defending champions Super Rugby champions.”There are a few guys in the group who I have played with before, and some who I’ve played against, so it will be great to reconnect with them and to get to know the whole team,” he said. “I have long admired the professionalism at the Crusaders and their obvious ability to grow talent, so it will be an honour to be a part of that.”last_img