Centurion Crosswell's crucial career in green and white
Centurion Crossy crucial for Turbos
Few players have stamped their mark on the green and white jersey in the Turbos era like the way Nick Crosswell has.
Crosswell became the province’s 11th centurion, a fitting honour for the versatile loose forward/ lock whose rugby rise started with the first match of Manawatu’s return to topflight provincial rugby in 2006.
The Feilding High School alumni shone at school level and played five games for the New Zealand Secondary Schools XV in 2004, before joining the New Zealand Under 19s in 2005.
But it was when he ran out in green and white that Crosswell really started turning heads.
His debut came in 2006 at blindside flanker against Auckland. He started every match in green and white that season and played 80 minutes in every game.
He bagged his first career try against Bay of Plenty in his fourth match for the province.
His impact was enough to listed in the 2007 Rugby Almanack as one of five “Promising Players of the Year” alongside Kieran Read, Israel Dagg, Jeremy Thrush and David Smith.
In the book, it noted “Crosswell’s work-rate rapidly attracted attention and he became more effective and prominent with each game. By the end of the repechage round he had one of the highest statistical counts for attacking a defensive play in the country”.
In an injury-affected 2007 campaign, Crosswell still managed to add an additional 10 games to his name, also all on the blindside flank.
In 2008, Crosswell continued his status as a mainstay of the Turbos pack playing all 12 games including six at No 8.
By the end of his third season Crosswell had started 31 of a possible 33 games for the Turbos.
Crosswell once again shone in 2009, captaining the team in seven games while the region battled alongside the team with the Save The Turbos campaign that ultimately helped retain the side’s topflight status in provincial rugby.
His performance in that campaign finally earned him a call up to Super Rugby with the Hurricanes where he played nine games including two starts, one at the unusual position of openside flanker.
He was again named captain for the Turbos’ 2010 season, but only lasted two games before injury spelt an early end to his season.
In 2011 he shifted to the Highlanders for Super Rugby, playing 12 games.
He once again captained the Turbos for the 2011 season when they fell in the Championship final.
Crosswell bought up his 50th match in the semi-final.
He continued with the Highlanders in 2012 with his versatility seeing him get game time at lock.
Crosswell, now a veteran of the Turbos, continued as captain in 2012, once again starting every match.
In 2013 Crosswell followed former Manawatu coach Dave Rennie to the Chiefs claiming a Super Rugby title with the side.
He started the season as captain of the Turbos, but when injuries interrupted his campaign, he handed the armband to Callum Gibbins.
After a fifth season of Super Rugbt, Crosswell returned to the Turbos in 2014, predominantly as a lock/ No 8.
He captained the team twice that season as the Turbos went on to claim the Championship title, Crosswell having the honours of the final conversion attempt on fulltime that sailed well wide of the uprights.
He would also make his debut for the New Zealand Maori during their tour to Japan.
It appeared that would be the end of Crosswell’s Manawatu tenure with the 81-game veteran inking a deal with Welsh club Newport-Gwent.
But after three seasons with the Dragons, Crosswell was ready to come home.
He signed with the Turbos for the 2017 season and played four games only for his season to be cut short with a neck injury.
By 2018, he added a further 8 games for Manawatu in 2018, including captaining the side for their game against Wellington.
Named vice captain in 2019, Crosswell has been a key cog in the Turbos pack.
He capped off his 100th match in a famous 32-29 win over Canterbury.
Club: Feilding Yellows
Debut: July 29, 2006 v Auckland in Palmerston North
100th match: September 19 v Canterbury in Christchurch
Games as captain: 34