Head knock puts Read in doubt to face Lions

15:47, Apr 03 2014
Richie McCaw
The expression of Richie McCaw's face says it all after the Crusaders missed seven penalties in an 18-10 loss to the Chiefs.
Israel Dagg
Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg runs at Liam Messam during the season opener.
Nafi Tuitavake
Crusaders wing Nafi Tuitavake runs away from Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick.
Crusaders fans
Almost 17,000 Crusaders fans packed into Christchurch Stadium for the season opener.
Tim Perry
Crusaders prop Tim Perry is taken down by Charlie Faumuina.
Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw eyes up a tackle on George Moala before leaving the field injured.
Colin Slade
Colin Slade celebrates his first half try against the Blues.
Colin Slade and Reynold Lee-Lo
Crusaders Colin Slade (right) and Reynold Lee-Lo fail to secure the ball under pressure from George Moala.
Crusaders 2014 season
Stormers captain Jean de Villiers and the Crusaders' Kieran Read await a referee's decision during their clash in Christchurch.
Crusaders 2014 season
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders celebrates the final whistle following his side's comeback win over the Stormers.
Crusaders 2014 season
The Crusaders cheerleaders get the crowd going before kick-off against the Stormers.
Crusaders 2014 season
Sam Whitelock reaches highest to claim lineout ball for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
Kieran Read
Captain Kieran Read chats to his forward pack during a break against the Rebels.
Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg attempts to get himself out of the grasp of a Melbourne Rebel.
Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg unleashes a punt downfield.
Colin Slade
Crusaders first-five Colin Slade fires a pass to his outside backs.
Ben Funnell
Crusaders Kieran Read (left) and Nafi Tuitavake rush to congratulate hooker Ben Funnell after scoring.
2014 Crusaders season
Wyatt Crockett of the Crusaders tries to offload under pressure from Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes.
2014 Crusaders season
Ryan Crotty makes a break for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes in Christchurch.
2014 Crusaders season
The Crusaders players look dejected after losing to the Hurricanes at the death.
2014 Crusaders season
Nemani Nadolo makes a charge down the wing for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes.
2014 Crusaders season
The Crusaders' Kieron Fonotia and Owen Franks get to grips with Schalk van der Merwe of the Lions.
2014 Crusaders season
Nepo Laulala of Crusaders tackling Faf de Klerk of Lions during the teams' clash at Ellis Park.
Crusaders 2014 season
George Whitelock and Matt Todd of Crusaders smash Lions No 8 Warren Whitley.
Crusaders
Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock takes a charge at the Lions defence.
Crusaders 2014 season
Crusaders No 10 Colin Slade goes on a run against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Crusaders 2014 season
Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz floats a pass out in his teams clash with the Cheetahs.
Crusaders 2014 season
Crusaders captain Kieran Read breaks away from the back of a maul against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders 2014 season
Ryan Crotty swats the Cheetahs defence out of his way in Bloemfontein.
Crusaders 2014 season
Quade Cooper of the Reds is tackled by Wyatt Crockett of the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Richie McCaw of the Crusaders takes the lineout during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Luke Whitelock of the Crusaders breaks away from the defence to score a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders celebrates with team mate Israel Dagg after scoring a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders scores a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Nemani Nandolo of the Crusaders storms down the sideline during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Crusaders 2014 season
Brodie Retallick of the Chiefs and Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders wrestle off the ball during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Crusaders 2014 season
Willi Heinz of the Crusaders in action during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Crusaders 2014 season
Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders has a word with a team-mate during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Crusaders 2014 season
Pat McCabe of the Brumbies is tackled by Israel Dagg of the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Colin Slade of the Crusaders kicks a conversion during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Crusaders 2014 season
Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders is tackled during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Crusaders 2014 season
Nemani Nadolo of the Crusaders dives over to score a try during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Julian Savea
Julian Savea celebrates the Hurricanes' win over the Crusaders during their Round 17 Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Dan Carter
Dan Carter of the Crusaders looks to make a break against the Hurricanes during his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.
Ryan Crotty
Ryan Crotty, captain of the Crusaders, is tackled by Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes during their Super Rugby clash at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Andy Ellis
Andy Ellis of the Crusaders and Dane Coles of the Hurricanes scuffle during their round 17 Super Rugby match.
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Nemani Nadolo crashes over the line for the Crusaders under pressure from a stern Blues defence.
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Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty has a cut at the Blues' line with Andy Ellis in support.
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Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo on the charge against the Blues at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Ma'a Nonu
Blues star Ma'a Nonu is tackled by Dan Carter of the Crusaders during their round 18 Super Rugby match in Christchurch.
Andy Ellis
Andy Ellis, centre, of the Crusaders is tackled by Blues players Tony Woodcock (left) and Luke Braid (right) during his side's win in Christchurch.
Dominic Bird
Crusaders lock Dominic Bird powers through a number of would-be Blues defenders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Nemani Nadolo
Nemani Nadolo of the Crusaders dives over to score a try against the Blues in round 18.
Dan Carter
Crusaders second-five Dan Carter is tackled by All Blacks team-mate and Blues prop Tony Woodcock.
Jerome Kaino
Jerome Kaino of the Blues is tackled by Andy Ellis of the Crusaders during their round 18 Super Rugby match in Christchurch.
Colin Slade
Colin Slade shows his courage on a scything run against the Highlanders in round 19 of Super Rugby.
Colin Slade
Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo fights for the ball in midair with Highlanders opposite Richard Buckman.
Colin Slade
New Zealand's top first five eighth Dan Carter on the break against the Highlanders.
Colin Slade
Israel Dagg shows his deft touch, unloading the ball while aerial in the tackle of Highlanders wing Patrick Osbourne.
Colin Slade
A Crusaders horseman spurs cheers from the Christchurch crowd ahead of their clash with the Highlanders.

Kieran Read may be scratched from Sunday morning's (NZ time) Super Rugby match against the Lions in Johannesburg because of concussion.

A head knock forced the Crusaders captain and No 8 Read from the field during last weekend's loss to the Hurricanes in Christchurch and this morning assistant coach Aaron Mauger confirmed the IRB player of the year was no certainty to start against the Lions.

"He's still showing some minor symptoms so that may affect his ability to take the field this weekend," Mauger said.
Despite Read's pedigree and the need for the Crusaders to win this match at Ellis Park - they have only won two of their five matches this season - Mauger said there was no chance of Read being told to play if not fully fit.

kieran read
CONCUSSION CONCERNS: Kieran Read may not take the field for Sunday's match against the Lions.

"There is no need to risk a guy," he said.

"His personal health is more important than anything we are trying to achieve for the team. Health definitely comes first and we are lucky we have a good doctor [Deb Robinson] and she has dealt with these things many times before." Read was tested by Robinson before the team flew from Christchurch last Saturday morning. The ankle injury he suffered against the Hurricanes was not serious.

If Read isn't named to play the Lions the captaincy is expected to shift to vice-captain and centre Ryan Crotty, and the Crusaders will be hoping he is fully fit to face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein a week later.

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Losing Read would be a major blow to a side that is operating well below their best.

The Crusaders are already without All Blacks captain and flanker Richie McCaw (broken thumb) and first five-eighth Dan Carter won't return from his sabbatical until early July.

Head coach Todd Blackadder can start either Jordan Taufua or Luke Whitelock at No 8.

Since arriving in South Africa the Crusaders have analysed the defensive lapses that proved so costly against the Hurricanes.

Julian Savea and Alapati Leiua were both able to beat their opposite wings Nafi Tuitavake and Johnny McNicholl to score tries and Leiua's effort in the final minutes, when McNicholl rushed in instead of holding back, won the match for the Hurricanes.

"The defensive effort let us down in the end - a couple of one-on-ones which pretty much decided the game," Mauger said.

"So that part was a little bit concerning.

"It was a system thing, really, and a couple of poor reads on either side. They have both come in when there is no need to and let their man get on the outside of him."

Mauger said Tabai Matson, whose major focus was to coach the defence, had been working with the players to ensure the errors were not repeated.

It appears unlikely the Crusaders, who are expected to name the team later today, will make major selection changes.
Dominic Bird will have to start at lock because Luke Romano hasn't toured due to injury and Read, if ruled out, will also have to be replaced.

"It will be reasonably settled," Mauger confirmed.

"Continuity is really important. We did a lot of good things last week, although we still made 21 errors which is probably twice the amount you want to be making in this game.

"But we did a lot of good things, we got our attack going, we managed to get a bit of quicker ball."

The Crusaders, wary of the accurate kicking of Lions first five-eighth Marnitz Boshoff, know they cannot afford to give away kickable penalties and this is likely to result in them curbing their counter-attacking instincts.

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