Crusaders ready for everything in Suva

Kieran Read 1566173118

It is a home game for the Hamilton-based side and with only two games left, they have a bye to complete yet, they would be ready to throw everything at the game.


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Added to that is the prior experience the Crusaders have had from previous games in Fiji where it wasn't only the opposition that threw everything at them but also the weather.

Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan said the longer range forecast was for lightning, thunder and rain during the game. He recalled a previous game when they warmed up before the game in fine weather only to have a torrential downpour start when they ran out to play.

As a result they had planned for every contingency this time around.

Games with the Chiefs had been extremely physical up front and the return of flanker Sam Cane would be a factor in the confidence they took into the game, Ryan said.

Team management had been pleased with the way the side responded to the off-field dramas following their return from their South African tour.

Ryan said captain Sam Whitelock had made the point at the start of last week that there would be a lot of 'outside noise' because of allegations made in South Africa but the side had got on with the job of beating the Blues. They had secured the desired outcome and that said a lot about how first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga and wing George Bridge carried themselves during the week.

Adding to the Crusaders' confidence ahead of the playoffs was what he called the cavalry starting to arrive from the injury ward.

Prop Tim Perry, who suffered a broken arm in the opening game of the season against the Blues in Auckland, would be playing club rugby this week.

Ryan said it would complete a great recovery for Perry.

"It's remarkable, the work he's put in. He's showed a lot of resilience, and put himself in a position that's going to put pressure on us for selection," he said.

"When you get an injury like he had in the first couple of minutes he got on against the Blues in round, and you think he could be a chance to make the quarterfinals. It's a long way, it's a hell of a season," he said.

No.8 Kieran Read was available for selection for the weekend along with hooker Ben Funnell who had recovered from a calf injury.

Tighthead prop Owen Franks was training this week and if able to get through another week recovering from the muscle tear in his right shoulder he should be ready to play the Rebels. Hooker Codie Taylor was on track to return from his broken finger in time for the playoffs.

Lock Quinten Strange had a setback after recovering from a foot infection when suffering a cracked rib playing for Tasman but will play club rugby at the weekend.

Kieran Read 1566173118

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