Rib rules Read out of Chiefs semi

Comment on this story
iol spt pic  Richie McCaw Getty Images File Photo: Richie McCaw of the Crusaders runs with the ball during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Rebels and the Crusaders.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw looks set to hold onto the Crusaders No 8 jersey after Kieran Read was ruled out of the semi-final showdown with the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.

Read went down with a cracked rib at the same venue two weeks ago as the Crusaders powered to a 28-21 win against the Chiefs in their penultimate regular-season match.

McCaw, regarded as the world’s best openside flanker, has lined up at No 8 ever since, and is expected to continue in Read’s absence, with fetcher Matt Todd and George Whitelock rounding out the back row. The All Blacks No 8 is confident that he will be fit for the final, if the Crusaders get past the Chiefs.

The Crusaders have played more finals than any other Super Rugby side and have won more titles (seven) than the two next-best challengers combined (the Blues and Bulls have won three each).

However, since former Crusaders forward Todd Blackadder took over as coach in 2009, they have fallen in two semi-finals and lost out in last year’s final. Their most recent title came in 2008 under Robbie Deans.

In round robin action this season the Crusaders lost to the Chiefs, Highlanders, Hurricanes, Rebels and Bulls while the Chiefs fell to the Highlanders, Reds, Hurricanes and Crusaders.

The Chiefs have suffered successive defeats which gives the impression that they are wavering heading into the play-offs, while the Crusaders have brought out their finals-style rugby which is attritional, practical and based on a low error-rate.

The Crusaders were in menacing quarter-final form as they knocked the Bulls back on the advantage line to win 28-13 in Christchurch last week. But the Chiefs should be better - they have had extra time to repair some wobbles and to work on strategies to counter the set-piece test from the visitors. - Cape Argus


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.