Super Rugby

Crusaders to rest Read for crucial Super Rugby clash

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Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder says that they will rest captain Kieran Read for their must win match against the Rebels this weekend.

The Crusaders lost their match on the weekend to the Chiefs in Fiji and with it their lead at the top of the Super Rugby standings.

This weekend’s match against the Rebels has therefore become a must win match for the Crusaders as they face the Hurricanes in the final round of the regular season.

While most would expect the Crusaders to beat the Rebels this weekend history suggests that they could struggle as the teams have met four times and the Crusaders have lost twice to the Melbourne side.

What will also be a concern for Crusaders fans is that the Rebels visited Christchurch in 2015 and left as 10-20 winners.

Despite the importance of this weekend’s match Blackadder says that Read will be rested.

“Kieran’s been fronting for us all year, now it’s time for this team to step up,” Blackadder told Stuff.

Blackadder said that they had agreed months ago that Read would be given this weekend off due to him leading the All Blacks three times in June against Wales and then the weekend’s clash against the Chiefs.

The Crusaders now need a bonus point win against the Rebels and another against the Hurricanes to secure a home Super Rugby play off.

Blackadder says that even though they face must win matches he will not revisit his strategy on resting Read.

“We are just going to give him a breather, that was always the plan.”

Blackadder said that the loss to the Chiefs may have come at a cost as props props Joe Moody and Wyatt Crockett had suffered injuries in the loss to the Chiefs.

Blackadder explained that Moody had “a really sore neck” and could have “a little bit of nerve damage” while Crockett suffered “a few haematomas to his calf and leg”.

The coach said that if Crockett or Moody cannot play this weekend he can call on Alex Hodgman and Tim Perry.

Blackadder is also hopeful that All Blacks lock Luke Romano will be available this weekend after he sat out last week with a hamstring strain.

“He said he tweaked his hamstring in the week of he third test and, and he wasn’t right to play for us, which was a bit frustrating,” Blackadder said.

“He jogged, but he just couldn’t run at full pace so he was no good to us.”

On the loss to the Chiefs Blackadder said, “We didn’t play with the physicality and intensity of how we prepared.”

“It wasn’t our best performance of the season, but our next two have to be.”

The coach admitted that it was now vital for the Crusaders to “perform and get back to five points” against the Rebels in Christchurch

“I’m sure we will turn around that (Chiefs) performance this week.”

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