• Carter, Read on Crusaders bench

    Dan Carter and Kieran Read will start on the bench for the Crusaders' match against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

    If Carter makes an appearance on Saturday it will be his first first-class game since beginning his sabbatical last November.

    Read's concussion issues saw him play only the opening 40 minutes of the All Blacks' third and final Test against England in Hamilton, and he is still being handled with care. Luke Whitelock will start at No 8 with Matt Todd wearing the No 7 jersey in the absence of Richie McCaw, who has been ruled out for a month with a broken rib.

    Meanwhile, with regular skipper and outside centre Conrad Smith sidelined with a thumb injury, second row Jeremy Thrush takes over the Hurricanes captaincy while Tim Bateman will wear the No 13 jersey.

    In other changes to the Canes' run-on side, Blade Thomson enters the starting line-up to partner Thrush in the second row, while Brad Shields comes into the back row for the injured Faifili Levave.

    Ardie Saeva also gets an opportunity in the starting side at openside flanker with Jack Lam starting among the replacements.

    Hurricanes – 15 Matt Proctor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Blade Thomson, 4 Jeremy Thursh (c), 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
    Subs: 16 Motu Matu'u/Reggie Goodes, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggie Goodes/Brendon Edmonds, 19 James Broadhurst, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Hadleigh Parkes, 23 James Marshall.

    Crusaders – 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty (c), 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
    Subs: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Kieran Read, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Rob Thompson.

    Super Rugby teams (Round 17)

    Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images

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    Simon Borchardt