Read hopeful for Cheetahs clash
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:03
Shoddy record in Africa
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder is confident his captain, Kieran Read, will be fit to meet a Cheetahs at the weekend.
Concussion prevented No.8 playing at Ellis Park on Saturday.
A knee injury has ruled out Luke Whitelock so Read's arrival couldn't be more timely.
The expected return the All Black No.8 could prove the vital ingredient that helps the Crusaders put an end to their ropey record in South Africa as they look for a clean sweep in the Republic.
The Crusaders haven't recorded a clean sweep since 2008 and often fail in their second tour match.
"He's [Read] got a couple of tests the doctor has to take him through but he is feeling really good and back to normal," Blackadder said.
"I'm pretty certain he will be right for next week."
Blackadder was uncertain how long Whitelock, who started at No.8, would be out but said he would definitly not face the Cheetahs.
It is hoped flyhalf Colin Slade would make a swift recovery. Although the dazed Slade looked in rough shape when he left the field Blackadder said the playmaker seemed fine after the game but will need pass a medical.
Immediately after the match the team spoke about its shoddy record in Africa.
"The guys brought it up in the changing room themselves," Blackadder said.
"We have got to go to Bloemfontein, a place we haven't played that well at in the past. We will go there with a lot of confidence and we have got to be prepared to attack."
Blackadder is likely to retain his new midfield pairing of Crotty and Fonotia, which gives his point of attack more bulk, and he would no doubt like to see wing Nemani Nadolo get more involved against the Cheetahs.
The strategy of refusing to use the ball inside their own half paid dividends.
Lions' kicking ace Marnitz Boshoff wasn't able to take his first penalty attempt until the 50th minute and the Crusaders' discipline was reasonably sound.
Being the first New Zealand team to win in South Africa this season should also create a surge in confidence.
Fairfax NZ News
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