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
Sun, 11 December 2016
Wasps v Connacht 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Montpellier v Castres 14h00 Altrad Stadium
Toulon v Scarlets 16h15 Stade Felix Mayol
Exeter Chiefs v Bordeaux 17h30 Sandy Park
Fri, 16 December 2016
Glasgow Warriors v Racing Metro 19h45 Scotstoun Stadium
Sat, 17 December 2016
Bordeaux v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 Stade Chaban-Delmas
Leicester Tigers v Munster 15h15 Welford Road
Toulouse v Zebre 16h15 Stade Ernest Wallon
Connacht v Wasps 17h30 The Sportsground
Leinster v Northampton Saints 19h45 Aviva Stadium
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9