Crusader Kieran Read returns for Chiefs clash
Kieran Read returns as captain for the Crusaders' crucial Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday night.
Coach Todd Blackadder, having rested a clutch of All Blacks on the bench in the 40-12 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin last weekend, has named his strongest available side by making five changes to his forward pack.
He has revamped the front row by naming Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn and Owen Franks, who was not considered last week because of an elbow infection, and selecting Luke Romano in the second row.
Read replaces Luke Whitelock at No 8.
The backline has not been changed.
Right wing Tom Marshall has shown no signs of discomfort at training despite being on the receiving end of Ma'a Nonu's spear tackle in Dunedin.
The last time the two sides met was in round 15 of the competition, when the Crusaders lost 28-19.
The Chiefs have already qualified for the playoffs with two rounds remaining.
The Crusaders need at least one win from their remaining games, against the Chiefs and the Hurricanes, to ensure their playoffs survival.
Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Tom Donnelly, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tyler Bleyendaal, Telusa Veainu.