Super Rugby Pacific: 'Ultimate Crusader' Ethan Blackadder relishing return after lengthy injury layoff

When Super Rugby Pacific kicks off in Christchurch on Friday it will also mark a return for one of the brightest talents in the game.

Ethan Blackadder's been sidelined since June last year, after dislocating his shoulder in the Crusaders' quarter-final - a hiatus that's only fueled his desire to get back to his best.

"I haven't played footy for a long time so I'm really excited to get out there and put a shift in," Blackadder told Newshub.

While he admits the time on the sideline has been frustrating, Blackadder isn't one to sulk. 

"It wasn't actually too bad," he admitted. "We obviously all want to be playing rugby because we're rugby players, but you put your supporters hat on and support your mates."

It's that sort of attitude that makes him such a popular member of this Crusaders side and exactly the character they need to win a seventh title in a row, as assistant coach Scott Hansen attests.

"Ethan is the ultimate Crusader," said Hansen.

"Energy every day, humble man, comes in with a smile on his face. Eyes are always shining around being better."

With the chasing pack creeping ever closer, being better is exactly what the Crusaders acknowledge they need to be.

"Every game we've played in the last few years has been close and tough," noted Blackadder. "They've got threats all over the park."

Watch the full story above