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The Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU) is the governing body for rugby union in the majority of the Canterbury region, in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand. The Union was formed in 1879. The founding clubs where; Christchurch's Christ's College, Temuka, North Canterbury (Rangiora), Eastern (Christchurch), South Canterbury (Timaru), Ashburton, and Southbridge. The current Union consists of 47 clubs, the most of any New Zealand Union.
Canterbury play their home games in strip of red and black and the strip has been worn by many well known names in the game playing for the Super franchise the Crusaders as well as the All Black or Maori. Just a few of these are: Graeme Bachop, Todd Blackadder, Ben Blair, Robbie Deans, Andy Earl, Scott Hamilton, Ian Kirkpatrick, Chris Laidlaw, Leon MacDonald, Justin Marshall, Norm Maxwell, Andrew Mehrtens, Greg Somerville, Reuben Thorne, Wilson Whineray, Alex Wyllie and more recently Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Isaac Ross, Sam Whitelock and of course both Richie McCaw and Dan Carter
Canterbury's top representative team has won New Zealand's top provincial rugby competition six times and counting, five in the National Provincial Championship and once in the Air New Zealand Cup, the 2009 season.
The Ranfurly Shield a provincial challenge trophy that was donated to New Zealand rugby by the Earl of Ranfurly, the country's Governor General between 1987 and 1904 is competed for each season and only Auckland has held it more times than Canterbury who have retained it 12 times to date.