Blackadder makes early call on Read

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 07:36
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The Crusaders will definitely be without their All Black No.8 Kieran read when they face the Chiefs on Friday.

The Crusaders will definitely be without their All Black No.8 Kieran read when they face the Chiefs on Friday.

Read was ruled out of the Super Rugby semifinal showdown with the Chiefs - a result of the rib injury he suffered in the Round 17 encounter with the Chiefs and which has sidelined him since.

He was forced to exercise on his own on Monday, as his Crusaders teammates stepped up their preparations for the all-New Zealand showdown in Hamilton.

Read was reduced to jogging and doing stretching exercises and Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder decided to make an early call.

That means All Black captain Richie McCaw will again start at No.8, with Matt Todd at openside flank and George Whitelock on either side of the scrum.

Blackadder said that by making a prompt decision the Crusaders could prepare without any question marks hovering over them.

"Richie is one of those guys who is hugely experienced and if anything It has been quite good for him," Blackadder told a media scrum in Christchurch on Monday.

"He's certainly bringing physical presence and he's played really well at No.8 though he's naturally a No.7," the Crusaders coach added.

"He's been outstanding, but I'm proud of our loose forward trio. They're really putting their hand up and playing really well."

Read, who confirmed he had suffered a rib fracture against the Chiefs in Round 17, said he was determined to return if the Crusaders can make the Final next week - when they will face either the Stormers or the Sharks.

"I'm definitely improving, but it is still a bit niggly. I'm able to do a few more things this week and can run around so hopefully another week will make a big difference.

"If we're involved in a final I'll definitely be there and ready to go."

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