A number of Crusaders and All Blacks stars are set to return this weekend to Super Rugby.
The biggest one of them is All Black captain Kieran Read.
Read has not featured in this year’s tournament, but is available for selection for their New Zealand derby against the Hurricanes.
Read was back training with the Crusaders on Monday and is expected to make his Super Rugby return.
Crusaders forwards coach Jason Ryan that the 34-year-old is set to return to action this weekend.
“He’s available for selection,” Ryan told TVNZ.
“His back’s feeling good, he’s been good mentally as well, which is important.”
Read will be joined by flyhalf Richie Mo’unga and lock Scott Barrett who both missed the loss against the Waratahs due to All Black protocol.
The loss to the Waratahs ended a 19-match winning streak for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.
Meanwhile Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said that his side will bounce back and refusing to blame the loss on an emotional and traumatic week.
“We were really desperate to play well and represent our people and show how much we care,” Robertson told reporters.
“You could see how hard we worked but we dropped enough ball for the whole season. That’s out of our system now.
“It was a tough week but we’re Crusaders, we don’t make excuses. We just needed to be better in a lot of parts of the game.”
Skipper Sam Whitelock also refused to blame the mosque attacks for their below-par performance. “I wouldn’t use anything as an excuse,” he said.
“Far too many dropped balls and that’s just releasing the pressure valve for these guys (Waratahs) and they took those opportunities and put us back in our own half and let us made mistakes.
“Obviously it hasn’t been a great week,” he added. “But everyone’s stayed pretty tight and that’s what we’re trying to do as a team, and we’re doing that as a city too.”
Written by Carl Coertzen
Image Credit: TVNZ