Crusaders' big guns still unavailable
April 16, 2013
Dan Carter strained a hamstring during training last week © Getty Images
Read and Carter have both missed the last three rounds, Read suffering a toe injury against the Southern Kings three weeks ago and Carter, after missing the South Africa trip when on paternity leave, straining a hamstring when preparing for last Saturday's match against Western Force.
While the Highlanders campaign is in tatters after seven straight losses, the Crusaders are also on a downward spiral, the shock 16-14 loss to the Force in Perth leaving them with a three win-four loss record.
Head coach Todd Blackadder said at the Crusaders training on Tuesday that he hoped Read and Carter may be back for the Melbourne Rebels game on April 28, otherwise they should be available for the Brumbies on May 5.
Blackadder was not bemoaning the loss of Richie McCaw, Read and Carter for the Crusaders inconsistent performances.
"This team has had ample opportunities to nail a result," he said. "There's more in these guys and they've got to learn hard lessons. We can't always rely on the big guns as it's been proven in the past that we've had injuries at crucial times. This team has to show more resolve than they did at the weekend."
Blackadder said what the team had practiced was not portrayed on the field against the Force. "As a coaching team it is our job to prepare the guys to go out and perform and the signs were that they were ready for it.
"But that's not what we saw and it wasn't a performance we were proud of. We had a bloody good look at ourselves and now we've got everything to play for. It is getting to a crucial time and we have to learn some lessons fast."
Blackadder said the Crusaders had put a tough start, which involved five away games in their first seven, behind them and hoped a return to home for their next two matches may resurrect the campaign.
Bringing the right resolve, stopping the lateral running, and decision-making were areas that needed addressing, Blackadder said.
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape