Read ready to rock Blues
Read ready to rock BluesSHARE
The Crusaders received a timely boost with the news that All Black stalwart Kieran Read is ready to resume normal duties against the Blues on Saturday.
Read hasn't played since the Crusaders 55-20 win over the Kings in Round Six, when he left the field late in the match with a foot complaint, , but assistant coach Dave Hewett said the signs are positive.
Read rejoined his teammates at Rugby Park on Monday ahead of the all-important match in Christchurch.
"Kieran's looking pretty good at the moment," Hewett told the New Zealand media.
"He is on schedule to be selectable for this week and it's just a case of him getting through the medical side of things, getting through training, about four weeks worth of training and then if he gets through that he's all clear to go.''
If Read does return to the starting line-up, Hewett said there's no guarantee he will take over the captaincy because George Whitelock has been doing a good job.
And with Luke Whitelock going from strength to strength at No.8, coach Todd Blackadder may be tempted to ease Read back into action – meaning George Whitelock will get another week at the helm of the side.
"George has been immense for us, he's just the ultimate professional rugby player,'' Hewett said.
With Read back in the side, and Dan Carter returning to full fitness the next stage of the Super Rugby is going to be vital for the Crusaders if they are to push for a play-off spot.
Having Read back on the paddock will give them some hefty experience and Hewett believes the rest of the side will feed of that.
"Kieran is a great player, and regardless of the colour of the jersey he has on he is always going to perform to the top level, so the rest of the boys are going to feed off that.
"He brings a lot to the team both on and off the field, and from a players point of view he brings that leadership quality that we need.''
Sources: Fairfax NZ News & Newstalk ZB