Carter and Read close to Crusaders return
All Blacks kingpins Dan Carter and Kieran Read could return for the seven-time champions as early as this weekend, with both players an option to play off the bench when facing the Rebels this weekend.
Read, who has been out of action for the same amount of time, injured his big toe and while he has resumed running duties - contact work and a call on his match fitness will be made carefully considering the number eight’s importance to the team.
In the interim, Tyler Bleyendaal has been playing at ten, and had arguably his best game of the season in Round Ten, especially defensively, as the Crusaders soaked up wave after wave of Highlanders attacks.
With the former Under-20’s star shining, Tom Taylor fit again and Carter’s return imminent, the red and blacks will have their full complement of playmakers available.
Luke Whitelock has been performing well at the back of the scrum in Read’s absence, and may continue to feature there for the Crusaders next two matches against the Rebels before the mammoth task of facing the Brumbies in Canberra.