Crusaders coach Scott Robertson sees something very special in his departing All Black, Ryan Crotty.
The Super Rugby centurion is heading to Japan at the end of 2019, taking up a contract with Kubota Spears and ending his decade-long stint as part of Canterbury rugby.
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Robertson has always found it a challenge to communicate with Crotty, because the midfielder is so meticulous and cerebral when it comes to gameplans.
"Crotts is a unique individual, extremely detailed," said Robertson. "As a coach, you have to give him all the facts and you have to really sell it for him to buy.
"His knowledge of the game, his ability to understand the game and perform at a high level is pretty special."
Robertson said Crotty would be sorely missed by the two-time defending Super Rugby champions - in part, because of what he adds to the team culture, not just his on-field ability.
"They have a pretty unique group that go out for dinner on Friday before the game. They all dress up and he's normally part of the theming of what the attire is going to be like."
"He's very delicate in his approach to his look - that's one way of putting it. He's one of the best-looking second-fives in world rugby, I think."
For Crotty, the move comes at the right time, even if it threatens his World Cup chances.
After winning several provincial and Super Rugby titles in red and black, the 30-year-old wanted a new challenge.
"It's just such an exciting opportunity," Crotty said. "I spent a bit of time in Japan with a couple of test matches over with the All Blacks and it was just honestly the best opportunity that came through.
"There were a couple of options to go elsewhere, but like I said, what Kubota are doing as a club is pretty exciting, and the opportunity to play in the top league over in Japan was just the right one for me and my family at the time."
"I think you take plenty of things into consideration when you make a decision like that."
The Crusaders host the Brumbies on Saturday afternoon in their first home game since the March 15 Christchurch mosque attacks.
Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Crusaders vs Brumbies Super Rugby clash.