Kieran Read will play for the Crusaders on Saturday despite being expected to sit out the first few games of Super Rugby.
Read's contract with New Zealand Rugby allowed him the break, but he has chosen instead to pull on the jersey for the Crusaders' first match against the Chiefs.
'I’ve been training really well, the body’s feeling great and the mind is willing,' Read told Fairfax Media. 'It was just a different feeling at that point and I decided to come back in and play.'
Read discussed the possibility of his early return with coach Todd Blackadder a few weeks ago. Blackadder insisted that Read's inclusion had nothing to do with the 74-7 loss of the Crusaders to the Hurricanes in the final pre-season match.
'We’d already talked about it three weeks ago that he was going to be available for this game. Please, it’s not a kneejerk reaction. It’s just good to have him involved, I can say that,' Blackadder commented.
Despite Read's return, Sam Whitelock will still captain the Christchurch-based side for the first month of the competition, whereafter Read will resume his role as skipper.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix