I don't think he will train
The Crusaders will have to go another week without their inspirational All Black No.8 Kieran Read.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder admitted that time is running out for Read to recover from a rib injury that forced him to miss the team's 25-13 play-off demolition of the Bulls at the weekend.
The seven-time champion Crusaders will face the Chiefs in an all-New Zealand Super Rugby semifinal in Hamilton on Friday.
"I don't think he will train . . . I think with the game being on Friday it is probably too short a turnaround for him," Blackadder told Fairfax NZ News.
"He is probably a week away. I would doubt he will be ready.
"And I thought the challenge of playing No 8 has been really good for Richie. He was huge against the Bulls and looks to be like he is really enjoying his rugby this year."
Despite the break the Chiefs, who had a bye at the weekend courtesy of their second placing on the log, retained a rigorous training schedule. To combat Blackadder's loose forwards coach Dave Rennie must decide whether to start All Black Sam Cane ahead of Tanerau Latimer at openside flank.
Liam Messam is expected to be named at blindside and Kane Thompson, who missed the last Crusaders game with injury, should return to No 8.
Read, until forced off with his ribs complaint in the second half of their earlier clash - in Week 17.