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Tasman sign Sevu Reece and Mark Telea

Crusaders wing Sevu Reece has left Waikato and will play for Tasman in this year’s Mitre 10 Cup.
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Crusaders wing Sevu Reece has left Waikato and will play for Tasman in this year’s Mitre 10 Cup have lured a couple of Super Rugby guns south ahead of their Mitre 10 Cup title defence.

Crusaders and All Blacks wing Sevu Reece, and Blues flyer Mark Telea, will play for the provincial champions this year.

Tasman chief executive Tony Lewis told Stuff it was a case of an insurance policy, given he expected two of his outside backs to crack the All Blacks.

Reece and Telea have left Waikato and North Harbour respectively, and will join Crusaders David Havili, Will Jordan and Leicester Fainga’anuku ahead of the season, which kicks off on September 11.

“We were looking to protect ourselves, so the idea if Will Jordan or David Havili become All Blacks, then we left ourselves a little bit isolated,’’ Lewis told Stuff.

“We’re assuming of those five, two will become All Blacks. Which two is interesting. But it gives us an insurance policy on the wing.’’

Blues wing Mark Telea and Crusaders wing Sevu Reece will be teammates at Tasman this year.
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Blues wing Mark Telea and Crusaders wing Sevu Reece will be teammates at Tasman this year.

Including his eight tries in 12 appearances this year, Reece has scored 23 tries in 26 appearances since the Crusaders initially signed him as an injury replacement for Israel Dagg ahead of the 2019 Super Rugby season.

Telea, arguably the most elusive runner in Super Rugby, has chalked up seven tries in an impressive rookie season for the revitalised Blues.

Lewis also confirmed midfielder Kieron Fonotia and hooker Quentin MacDonald had returned to New Zealand and would return to the Mako for the 2020 season.

Former Crusader Fonotia, 31, left New Zealand after the 2016 season and has been earning his coin playing for Welsh sides Ospreys and Scarlets.

MacDonald, also 31-years-old, played for the Crusaders, Chiefs and Blues in the past, and amassed 78 caps for Tasman between 2007 and 2015.

Crusaders Will Jordan, left, and Sevu Reece will combine at Tasman later this year.
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Crusaders Will Jordan, left, and Sevu Reece will combine at Tasman later this year.

Tasman's coaching group is unchanged from last year and will again be led by Crusaders assistant Andrew Goodman and Highlanders assistant Clarke Dermody. Former Highlanders flanker Shane Christie is also on board.

A year after becoming the first team since Auckland (2007) to go unbeaten through a season, the Mako are favourites ($2.88) with Kiwi bookies, ahead of Canterbury ($4), to trump this year.

The two sides in the Crusaders’ region play in a pre-season match in Hanmer Springs on September 4.

All provinces are required to submit their 2020 squads to New Zealand Rugby by September 1.