Read proud of 100th Crusaders game
March 26, 2014
Kieran Read will run on for his 100th Super Rugby match on Friday © Getty Images
Captain Kieran Read says his 100th Super Rugby game for the Crusaders will be a special personal achievement when they face the Hurricanes in Christchurch on Friday. World class No.8 Read is part of an unchanged starting 15, with coach Todd Blackadder's only selection move coming in the reserves.
New Zealand under-20 loose-head prop Daniel Lienert-Brown comes onto the bench in place of Tim Perry, who has a hamstring injury. Blackadder has otherwise stayed true to the side who beat the Rebels 25-19 in Melbourne two weeks ago. They had a bye last weekend.
Read, 28, named IRB player of the year for 2013, ranks a century of games for the franchise where he made his debut in 2007 among his proudest moments of a glittering career.
"When you look at the other players who have achieved 100 games for the Crusaders, you realise what an honour it is," he said. "Being selected for an award is one thing but being selected for the Crusaders team 100 times is a real reflection of the hard work I've put in over the years and something I can feel truly proud of."
After losing their first two games to the Chiefs and Blues, the Crusaders bounced back with narrow wins over the Stormers and Rebels. The match will pit the two lowest-placed teams in the New Zealand conference. The Crusaders are 11th, one place ahead of the Hurricanes, who have lost four of their five games.
Crusaders: Israel Dagg; Nafi Tuitavake, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl; Colin Slade, Andy Ellis; Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, Luke Whitelock; Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks; Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Nepo Laulala, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Mitchell Drummond, Kieron Fonotia, Nemani Nadolo.