Blackadder: Read return 'worth 5 points'
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 6:46p.m.
By Jim Kayes
The Crusaders are at full strength for Friday night's must-win Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Hamilton with All Blacks Dan Carter, Kieran Read and Israel Dagg all declared fit.
It means the Crusaders have 12 All Blacks in the starting 15 and all eight in the pack.
Carter's Super Rugby's leading points scorer but it's the return of No 8 Read that Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder suggests will have a more measurable effect.
“Kieran Read's worth five points every time he pulls the jersey on, he's just such a big game player,” says Todd.
Not that Carter's contribution's inconsiderable - he averages 12.4 points a game and has won three quarters of his 106 Super matches.
“DC brings that big game experience to these moments. It's just good to have him back in the mix,” adds Blackadder.
So too is fullback Dagg , his skipper Richie McCaw happy to be at full strength.
“They're our top players (back three) so just the experience I suppose and what they can bring is huge but for the rest of us we can't just expect that because they're back it's going to be different. We all need to up our level,” says McCaw.
That’s because the table-topping Chiefs’ 12 wins includes a 24-19 round three win when they embarrassed the crusaders scrum.
“They really crowded us, they took away our hit. We couldn't get our ball. They really disrupted us. It was a good tactic.” Blackadder tells 3 News.
Set piece will again be important but the Hurricanes showed with their back-peddalling scrum and dreadful lineout it’s possible to win off broken play.
“The games are won and lost in those little moments… who can hold on to the ball, who can look after it, good ball placement, good clean out, just not taking those little things for granted,” explains Blackadder.
Because with just two games to play and the Hurricanes picking up four points with the bye this weekend, another loss could end the Crusaders playoff hopes.
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