Crusaders to 'unleash' their beasts

Tue, 05 Feb 2013 16:11
Large kieran read with fans Large kieran read crusaders Large kieran read charges Large kieran read media 630 Large kieran read abs portrait 63

Super Rugby's most successful franchise, the Crusaders, are determined to reproduce the distinctive high-paced game that have won them seven titles.

Super Rugby's most successful franchise, the Crusaders, are determined to reproduce the distinctive high-paced game that have won them seven titles.

Crusaders captain Kieran Read, speaking to this website in an exclusive interview, said they are going to employ the very effective and entertaining approach that has been their hallmark since the South Islanders' first success back in 1998.

Then there is the incredible depth, another feature of the Christchurch-based outfit.

Despite the absence of All Black captain Richie McCaw (on a six-month sabbatical), as well as the departure of other internationals - like Ben Franks (to the Hurricanes), Zac Guildford (withdrew for personal reasons) and Sean Maitland (to Scotland, where he earned his first Test cap last week), the Crusaders remain a team of high quality across the board.

The Crusaders squad includes nine new faces, but 23 players returned from the 2012 campaign.

"We typically have always based ourselves on our strong forwards and attacking outside backs," Read told this website, when asked about the qualities of the 2013 squad.

"This year we will look to unleash them and work on our whole game.

"We are also working on strength and conditioning to ensure our ultimate fitness," he added.

Four of the new faces - Dominic Bird, Johnny McNicholl, Joe Moody and Codie Taylor - were part of the Crusaders' wider training group last year and all four were part of the Canterbury squad that took out the NPC Premiership competition for a third consecutive year in 2012.

The Crusaders started their pre-season with a one-point (26-27) loss to the Hurricanes in Timaru last Saturday), and will follow that up with matches against the Highlanders and Waratahs.

Read said the results of the pre-season games are not important.

"It is about the team performance, ensuring everyone gets a run and building towards the first game of the competition," the Crusaders skipper said of their trip to Auckland on March 1, where they take on the Blues.

They have a bye when the competition gets underway in February.

"It's a good opportunity for us to look at our performance and fine tune our play.

"We take a lot of learnings from our pre-season games."

By Jan de Koning

* Look out for Part Two of our exclusive interview with Kieran Read, when we speak to him about his goals and the absence of Richie McCaw!

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 March 2017
Zebre v Munster 14h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Saracens v Bath 15h00 Allianz Park
Leinster v Cardiff Blues 15h00 RDS Arena
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 15h00 Sandy Park
Glasgow Warriors v Connacht 17h15 Scotstoun Stadium
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Jaguares v Reds 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 March 2017
Wasps v Worcester Warriors 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Mon, 27 March 2017
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks 14h45 Potchefstroom
NMMU-Madibaz v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Bloemfontein
Wits v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Johannesburg
Fort Hare v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Davidson Stadium
UWC v WSU 16h30 Cape Town
Maties v UJ 17h00 Stellenbosch
Fri, 31 March 2017
Highlanders v Rebels 06h35 Dunedin
Sat, 01 April 2017
Blues v Force 04h15 Auckland
Chiefs v Bulls 06h35 Hamilton
Reds v Hurricanes 08h45 Suncorp Stadium
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h05 DHL Newlands
Zebre v Connacht 14h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Lions v Sharks 15h05 Ellis Park Stadium
Leinster v Wasps 15h15 Dublin
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 5 2 0 3 11
Waratahs 5 2 0 3 8
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 4 1 0 3 5
Rebels 4 0 0 4 1
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 5 0 0 21
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 5 2 0 3 11
Highlanders 5 2 0 3 9
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 4 4 0 0 17
Cheetahs 4 2 0 2 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Sunwolves 5 0 0 5 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Jaguares 4 3 0 1 14
Sharks 4 3 0 1 13
Kings 5 1 0 4 5