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Business as usual for the Crusaders

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James Mortimer     20 Dec 2012     Getty Images

The seven-time Investec Super Rugby champions and the New Zealand Rugby Union announced changes to the franchise earlier this week, with the consortium made up of the Crusaders unions, while Brent Francis is officially the team’s investor.

With the Canterbury, Mid-Canterbury, South Canterbury, Buller and West Coast Rugby Football Union having stakes in the Crusaders, Ellis told the Press that the team was for the people.

“For the fans, it should be business as usual,” Ellis said.

“It doesn't matter where they are from - Karamea, Ashburton or Christchurch - this is still their team.”

"Our governance will gradually change but for much of the off-field stuff things should be no different.”

“It's important that things go better than ever under the new licence."

The Crusaders will commence the 2013 Investec Super Rugby season without mercurial All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who will take a sabbatical for the first half of the calendar year.

The seven-time champions kick off action in round three, playing the Blues away at Eden Park, with the red and blacks taking a round two bye to ‘commence’ their season.