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Crusaders & All Blacks get Kieran Read boost

Kieran Read runs out to play for the Crusaders

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Article Published: Tuesday 27 May 2014|

Crusaders captain Kieran Read looks set to return to playing Super Rugby this weekend against the Western Force following the All Blacks' second training camp in Wellington.

Read has missed the last five weeks of Super Rugby after suffering concussion but was training with the rest of the All Black squad at Hutt Recreation Ground.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has indicated that his star No.8 is likely to return to playing on Friday against the Force in Christchurch.

"He's fine, he's got over his head knock well and truly and now its just getting his sinuses right," Hansen told The Dominion Post.

"He's training well and feeling good."

Read's return comes just in time for the All Blacks Test series against England as does first five-eighth Aaron Cruden who has just returned from a broken thumb.

England will not be able to field a full strength team in the opening Test due to the scheduling of the Premiership final so Hansen could rest Read and Cruden for the June 7th Test in Auckland.

"Aaron's coming along well. There's another game this weekend, so we'll have to wait and see how they both come through that and how they come through it and then we can make some decisions," Hansen said.

"Both are in a situation where they haven't had a lot of game time. We can't change that, that's just life. "

"We'll make our judgments on that after Saturday if they both play. Then we'll get the group together and make some decisions on who is going to start."

While Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder hasn't named his side to play the Force Blackadder said that the All Black selectors had settled on their squad for the first Test.

Hansen said that they could not name the squad to play England now as any number of them could pick up injuries this weekend.

"We're pretty sure on what we're going to do, but we can't name the team now. We name it and five of them get injured. It's a matter of sitting on our hands and waiting and naming the team after the last game [of Super Rugby over the weekend]."

Hansen will cut his 35 strong squad down to 31 on Sunday and one of the four hookers, a lock and loose forward look set to be dropped.

One of the new caps who looks set to be included is Highlanders centre Malakai Fekitoa as Hansen says that he has carried his Super Rugby form into the camps.

"I've been really impressed with Malakai. He's a sharp learner. You only have to tell him something once and he seems to pick it up pretty smartly."

"His form is sensational, so I don't think there will be too many surprises for him come next week."

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