No McCaw or Read in first Crusade

Mon, 10 Feb 2014 09:00
Large kieran read  steve hansen  Large kieran read h s2 Large richie mccaw crusaders

The Crusaders look set to start their 2014 campaign without two of the most influential players in the world - Richie McCaw and Kieran Read.

The Crusaders look set to start their 2014 campaign without two of the most influential players in the world - Richie McCaw and Kieran Read.

It has already been confirmed that Read will miss the Crusaders' Super Rugby opener against the Chiefs on February 21.

The All Black No.8, named the IRB and NZRU player of the year in 2013, has been granted an extra week away from playing duties after a heavy workload in the latter half of 2013 with the All Blacks.

Now it is reported that McCaw could yet join Read on the sideline for the Crusaders' encounter with the two-time defending champions in Christchurch.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder confirmed on Monday that it was in the team's plans all along for Read to miss the game.

However, Test great and New Zealand captain McCaw could also be eased slowly into the season, with Blackadder considering playing Matt Todd on the openside flank against the defending champions.

McCaw, 33, looks set to return to the field in the Crusaders' final pre-season match against the Hurricanes in Levin on Friday.

However, Blackadder says early-season form will dictate his selection. Todd, has already impressed in the team's opening trials and practices.

"It's not just about getting guys back and integrating them and letting them get slowly up to speed," Blackadder said.

"It's about who's ready to go at the start and that may mean that Matt Todd is more physically ready to go and up to speed in his skill executions than Richie McCaw.

"That's not to say Richie is not a great player, but [it is] horses for courses."

Todd, 25, made his All Blacks debut last year with Test appearances off the reserve bench before a chest muscle injury in September ended his season.

Even if Todd gets the nod for the No.7 jersey against the Chiefs, McCaw could still be considered at No.8 in place of Read.

Other loose forward options include the Whitelock brothers, George and Luke, who have both played one Test.

Blackadder said he was comfortable with the decision to allow Read to take an extra week off.

"He won't be available for the opening game - he will be ready to go for the Blues game [in Round Two]," Blackadder said.

"That was always the plan.

"It's a far better plan than the original one, that he was not going to be available for the first three weeks.

"Everyone else is ready to go which is good."

It means the Crusaders second-round match against the Blues in Auckland on February 28 will be Read's first appearance on active duty, because he will not have played in any pre-season games.

Sources: Fairfax NZ News & NZ Newswire

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19