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Crusaders could start Carter and Read

Dan Carter could be promoted into the Crusaders starting line up

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Article Published: Monday 30 June 2014|

The Crusaders have just two regular Super Rugby season matches left and are expected to promote Dan Carter and Kieran Read into the starting line up this weekend.

The Christchurch based Super Rugby side have matches remaining against the Blues and Highlanders both at their home venue but their lacklustre performance against the Hurricanes has fans worried that they could drop out of the play off race if they lose both matches.

The Crusaders lost 16-9 to the Hurricanes but due to the losing margin they picked up a losing bonus point which allowed them to hold on to the top spot in the New Zealand Super Rugby conference.

The Highlanders victory over the Chiefs had moved them into the top spot in New Zealand but the Crusaders edged back into the lead on points difference - and they also have one more win than the Highlanders which could be a factor in two weeks time.

Carter and Read were used by the Crusaders as replacements in the second half and bringing them into the starting line up appears to be the obvious way to give the side a "pick up" but Crusaders assistant coach Dave Hewett is not giving away any hints about whether they will start or not.

"We haven't even gone down that path from a selection point of view," Hewett told Stuff.

"Obviously both of them had a little bit of game time and the two individuals performed pretty well in the limited capacity they had.

"They will both be contention, it's just a matter of what sort of mix we can run with this weekend."

Hewett said that Colin Slade, who suffered a heavy knock in a tackle and stayed on for a few minutes and then went off for a concussion test which he failed, will be tested again before the team is named on Thursday.

Slade will be expected to have a computerised concussion test, called Cogsport, to show that he is not suffering from any post-concussion symptoms.

"So far he has pulled-up pretty well," Hewett said.

"Obviously he will have to go through the procedures of CogSport and re-sitting that and making sure everything is okay.

"It's (the test) not every day. It's as the medical staff see fit. If you have symptoms you don't do it but if you don't (have symptoms) then you do a CogSport test and if you are fine on that then you are in line for selection.

"But the CogSport not is the be-all and end-all and there are a lot of other things that go into it."

Hewett did however say that Read "seemed to be in a good place" which is a positive as he has been plagued with concussion issues all season.

However the No.8 injured his ankle playing against the Hurricanes so he and Jordan Taufua who has a knee injury will be be monitored closely this week.

If Carter is fully fit to start then Slade could drop back to fullback and cover for Israel Dagg who missed last week and the second and third Tests against England due to injury.

While Dagg appears to be recovering from his patella tendon injury Hewett is non-committal about whether they would bring him back into the Crusaders line up.

"Bring him back a week too early and it could mean another eight weeks out, which no-one wants," Hewett said.

"We'll assess him very closely to see if he's available."

On the matter of lack of game time that Carter and Read have had Hewett said,"If required they can play 80 but you don't want to drop them straight in the deep end if you don't have to,"

"Obviously that wouldn't be the desirable length of time but, you never know, it could happen."

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