Super Rugby
Todd to lead Crusaders in early rounds
ESPN Staff
January 10, 2015
Matt Todd crosses for Crusaders © Getty Images

Flanker Matt Todd will captain Crusaders in the early rounds of the Super Rugby season as Kieran Read takes a "mini-sabbatical" that is written into his contract with New Zealand Rugby.

Sam Whitelock will join Read on sabbatical and the pair will return in round five of the competition. Todd, who has been capped twice by the All Blacks, will lead the Crusaders in their opening three matches against the Rebels, Highlanders and Chiefs.

Richie McCaw and Dan Carter might have seemed more obvious choices but coach Todd Blackadder has chosen to back Todd.

"Matt Todd is going to captain the team in Kieran Read's absence," Blackadder said. "He was our player of the year last year. He's been involved all the way though our pre-season which we thought was pretty important for our group.

"He is a guy that is respected by everyone in our environment which includes our All Blacks. You've got to be able to command a spot and be able to walk the talk. We see it as a good opportunity for him to lead the team. He has fantastic leadership skills. If anyone has earned the right, it's him."

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