Super Rugby
Blackadder finds few positives in Crusaders loss
ESPN Staff
June 29, 2014
Hurricanes 16-9 Crusaders (video available in Australia only)

In a disappointing night, there was little that Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder could be happy about, but the return of No. 8 Kieran Read and fly-half Dan Carter were two positives he took away from the match.

"I thought DC came out and did a great job to be honest, a bit like Reado," Blackadder said after the 16-9 loss.

Blackadder gave his two aces passing marks for their returns to Super Rugby and was especially pleased by Read's hard runs, and defended his decision not to start his star loose forward against the Hurricanes.

"It's been a tough week for Reado… The more people keep talking about it the more anxiety it creates," he said. "With an elite player like Reado you have to be careful how much you talk about it… he's just human. He's a guy who has been through a lot. He needs the pressure taken off so he can just relax. We did that this week and he got out there and played really well and feels really great now, so that's a plus."

Unfortunately for the Crusaders, Read and Carter's return, and a strong set piece, were the few glimmers of light on a night when Hurricanes lock/loose forward Blade Thompson sliced apart the Crusaders and capped off his night with two tries.

"It was probably the worst 40 minutes we've had all season," Blackadder said. "I was pleased with the way we responded at half-time. We were probably lucky to be in touch to be honest. Right from the start we just looked rusty, we couldn't get out of second gear and as the game went on we got better and better."

But the Crusaders weren't good enough to repel a hungry Hurricanes side led by Thompson, Dane Coles and replacement flanker Jack Lam. The Hurricanes kept their playoff hopes, moving into fifth place and if they beat the Chiefs in Hamilton next week in their final regular season match, they are a good bet to reach the playoffs.

The Crusaders maintained their place atop of the New Zealand conference and third overall, with home matches against the Highlanders and Blues to play.

Dan Carter made a successful return for the Crusaders last night © Getty Images
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