Read ready to 'replace' McCaw

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 06:31
Large kieran read smiles630 Large kieran read crusaders

Kieran Read has already proved his merits as a captain. Now he wants to add the 'fun factor' as leader of the Crusaders this season.

Kieran Read has already proved his merits as a captain. Now he wants to add the 'fun factor' as leader of the Crusaders this season.

The six-month sabbatical that All Black captain Richie McCaw is taking, has opened the door for Read to have an extended run as skipper of the seven-time champion Crusaders.

McCaw, who won't be seen on the playing field until July, hopes the break will maximise his chances of becoming the first captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup in successive World Cup tournaments.

However, Read - who started his senior career as a blindside flank, but has evolved into arguably the world's best No.8 - proved he is a more than adequate alternative skipper when he stood in as captain for the Crusaders when McCaw was injured during their nomadic 2011 Super Rugby campaign.

He is the first to admit that McCaw's absence from Super Rugby and the June internationals will bring with it, its own challenges.

"Richie is a world class player and the Crusaders will miss the talent and experience that he brings to the game," Read told this website in an exclusive interview from the team's base in Christchurch.

"However, his sabbatical provides a great opportunity for some of the other players to step up and make their mark.

"It also offers others a chance to take on a leadership role within the team.

"The Crusaders have a great many talented players," Read added.

And that means there is an additional entry among his personal goals for 2013 - both in terms of Super Rugby and on the Test stage.

"This year I want to enjoy the captaincy and continue to play at a high standard for the Crusaders and the All Blacks," Read told this website.

There were also significant changes to the Crusaders coaching panel in the off-season.

While the Crusaders' former  assistant coach Daryl Gibson joined the Waratahs for the 2013 Super Rugby season, the Christchurch outfit appointed two new assistant coaches.

Tabai Matson and Aaron Mauger are the new assistant coaches, focussing on the backs. They join head coach Todd Blackadder and Dave Hewett as forwards coach, with a new strength and conditioning coach, Mark Drury, also having joined the panel.

However, Matson and Mauger have long-standing connections with the Crusaders.

"The coaching panel of Todd Blackadder, Dave Hewett, Tabai Matson and Aaron Mauger is outstanding," said Read, who has encountered a wide variety of coaches - including current Wallaby mentor Robbie Deans, who surprised many when he made Read captain during a pre-season match in 2006.

"Together they bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the side," Read said of the new Crusaders coaching panel.

"The addition of Tabai and Aaron brings a fresh perspective.

"They are really knowledgeable about the game and bring valuable input into how we want to play."

Read, a winner of the Kel Tremain Player of the Year award as New Zealand's best in 2010, is rated as the best No.8 in the world.

He is not only a strong ball carrier, who would run through a brick wall and loves making big hits, but has grown into a demanding leader.

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Mon, 20 February 2017
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Durban
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 11h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
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