Crusaders exercise their singing skills for Cystic Fibrosis


c-cityMove over One Direction, there’s another boy band in town! A group of Crusaders rugby players have been brought together by their vocal talents to form a boy band. The C-City Brothers are showcasing their off-field talents with their new single Never Walk Away, which is being released today on iTunes (search C-City Brothers).

Who are the C-City Brothers?

C-City Brothers is a close knit group; Andy Ellis, Israel Dagg, Willi Heinz, Telusa Veainu and Robbie Fruean. People may recognise these names from the successful Crusaders rugby franchise and the All Blacks, but many do not know that behind the scenes these boys are music aficionados.

C-City Brothersโ€™ founding member Andy Ellis says, ‘We are hoping that this is the start of a long career in the music industry. Since I was a little boy I have dreamed of being in a boy band. My inspiration has been bands like the Backstreet Boys and Westlife. Their music continues to motivate me and I still have some of their posters from my childhood.’

Telusa Veainu credits Elvis and Sam Cook as his musical inspirations, while Robbie Fruean says the Temptations influenced him.

Andy Ellis says the idea to form a boy band was something that he and his Crusaders teammates had been thinking about for some years. ‘Ensuring there are options for us after rugby was a big motivator.’

Israel Dagg says the selection process to get into C-City Brothers was fierce. ‘Andy held auditions and all members of the Crusaders gave it a go. At the end though, he was in awe of our skills.’

Andy says it was sad having to turn down the skills of Wyatt Crockett and Luke Romano, and while George Whitelock has a great baritone, he didnโ€™t cut it.

Willi Heinz notes that the group is made up of rugby backs, but insists there are no bad feelings from the Crusaders forwards. ‘All the boys in the team are supporting us and hope we go to number one on the charts.’

Singing for a good cause

The above jokes aside, Andy Ellis says, ‘The best thing about the release of this single is that all proceeds from any iTunes sales will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Association. The Crusaders has had a long association with Cystic Fibrosis and they do great work in the community.’

Kate Russell, chief executive of Cystic Fibrosis NZ (CF) says, ‘Everyone at Cystic Fibrosis NZ has known for a long time just how talented these guys are on and off the field, but to have them using their talent to help us in our work for people with CF is just so heart-warming. We are sure this is going to be a stellar hit and these guys are going to go far.’

While Andy Ellis wrote the words, strongly inspired by the strength of the people of Canterbury after the earthquakes and the closeness of the Crusaders as a team, the other band members came up with the rap. Acclaimed musician Jason Kerrison collaborated with the band and wrote original music for the song.

‘It would be incredible if our song made it to number one on the charts, the boys would be stoked,’ says Andy. ‘A lot of people have helped the band and we want to thank them for the time they have given up. We really want this single to be a success and raise a lot of money for the Cystic Fibrosis Association.’

The C-City Brothers will look at live performance opportunities throughout summer.

Cystic Fibrosis

Established in 1968, The Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Association of New Zealand has been supporting people with CF and their families by increasing awareness of the condition, education, advocacy, helping fund research, and providing social and financial support.

Cystic Fibrosis is New Zealand’s most common life-threatening inherited condition and the CF Association is the only national organisation dedicated to all aspects of the condition. The CF Association offices are located in Christchurch but with twelve branches throughout New Zealand.

Image / Supplied

Scroll to Top