Kieran Read named on bench for Crusaders
Todd Blackadder has resisted the urge to rush Kieran Read back into the Crusaders by naming him on the bench for Saturday night's match against the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Read, whose contribution during the All Blacks' series against England was limited to the opening 40 minutes of the third and final test in Hamilton, has been named in the Crusaders No 20 jersey for the Super Rugby fixture at the Cake Tin.
Luke Whitelock will start at No 8.
Concussion issues, in conjunction with the All Blacks' desire to improve his conditioning, limited Read's impact during the domestic test series.
He started the Crusaders most recent match, against the Force on May 30, after a lengthy absence because of concussion symptoms and was then rested from the opening two tests against England.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has already indicated the Crusaders were unlikely to expect Read to graft out a full 80 minutes.
This was despite their loose forward mix already being diluted by the absence of openside flanker Richie McCaw who is out for up to a month with a broken rib.
Blackadder has also rotated his props. All Black Owen Franks, who started all three tests against England, has been named on the bench and Nepo Laulala will start at tighthead.
Joe Moody has also been named in the reserves and is set to make his first Super Rugby appearance since breaking his leg in last year's National Provincial Championship final when playing for Canterbury.
Locks Dominic Bird and Sam Whitelock will pair up in the second row and Matt Todd will wear the No 7 jersey in the absence of McCaw.
Jimmy Tupou has recovered from his head knock and been named in the reserves.
As expected Colin Slade returns to first five-eighth, with Dan Carter listed on the bench.
If Carter makes an appearance it will be his first first-class game since beginning his sabbatical last November.
With Nemani Nadolo still representing Fiji this week, Nafi Tuitavake and Johnny McNicholl take the two wings. They are joined by Ryan Crotty and Kieron Fonotia in the midfield, and Tom Taylor takes the fullback spot while Israel Dagg recovers from injury.
Crusaders: Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty (captain), Nafi Tuitavake, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Samuel Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Nepo Laulala, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Jimmy Tupou, Kieran Read, Willi Heinz, Dan Carter, Rob Thompson.