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Kieran Read named for comeback


All Black captain Read named for comeback against Highlanders

The Crusaders will be boosted by the return of All Blacks captain Kieran Read when they host the Highlanders on Friday night in Christchurch, in the penultimate of the Super Rugby regular season.

The 32-year-old has been named to start at Number 8 along with along with another eight returning All Blacks in a strong Crusaders side. Read, who played for Counties Manukau in a pre-season hit out last week, indicated his comeback will be eased in as he looks to find match fitness.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Read.

“I’ve obviously gotta keep the standard up cause they’ve been going pretty good.

“I’m 100 per cent ready to go. Probably won’t be doing 80 but I’m ready to get the game started.”

Sam Whitelock will resume the captaincy, while both Matt Todd and Ryan Crotty will resume their respective roles as Vice-Captains.

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Prop Wyatt Crockett will play his 200th Investec Super Rugby match this week and will run out on to ‘Wyatt Crockett Stadium’ to bring up the milestone. It was announced earlier this week that the stadium would be renamed for this match in acknowledgment of Crockett’s achievement.

The Crusaders have won nine of their last 12 games against the Highlanders, although they were defeated 25-17 when they met in round five in Dunedin earlier this season. The Highlanders are one of only two teams to beat the Crusaders this year and will be looking to end the Crusaders 10-game winning streak.

BNZ Crusaders team to play the Highlanders:

1. Joe Moody
2. Andrew Makalio
3. Owen Franks
4. Scott Barrett
5. Sam Whitelock (C)
6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis
7. Matt Todd (VC)
8. Kieran Read
9. Bryn Hall
10. Richie Mo’unga
11. George Bridge
12. Ryan Crotty (VC)
13. Jack Goodhue
14. Seta Tamanivalu
15. David Havili

16. Codie Taylor
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Michael Alaalatoa
19. Quinten Strange
20. Jordan Taufua
21. Mitchell Drummond
22. Mitchell Hunt
23. Manasa Mataele

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All Black captain Read named for comeback against Highlanders