All Blacks captain Read opens 2019 account
Christchurch- All Blacks captain Kieran Read will make his first appearance in this World Cup season when he starts for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.
Read missed the first six rounds of the tournament to ensure he is fully rested as he prepares to lead New Zealand's bid to win the World Cup for the third time in a row.
Though he has been in full training for around three weeks, it was thought Read might make his return gradually from the bench but he has been drafted straight into the starting lineup.
"I was probably all good to play two weeks ago," Read said. "But you want to make sure you've got enough conditioning under the belt.
"So those little niggles that happen in pre-season do set you back. If you can't be out there training with the (team) for a week, it kind of sets you back a couple weeks."
Read has regularly been a late starter for the Crusaders, missing the first seven rounds of the 2017 season and not playing until after the June test break last year. He has still accumulated 145 matches over 13 years for the nine-time Super Rugby champions.
This is his last year in Super Rugby before he takes up a club contract in Japan.
Elsewhere, All Blacks lock Scott Barrett and flyhalf Richie Mo'unga also return to the starting line-up, which which means Quinten Strange and Brett Cameron shift to the bench.
The return of Read sees Whetukamokamo Douglas move to blindside flank, and
Jordan Taufua take Tom Sanders' spot on the bench, after Sanders
dislocated his shoulder against the Waratahs last weekend.
only other changes to the match-day 23 see Mitchell Drummond return to
provide cover for Bryn Hall at scrumhalf and prop Oliver Jager set to play his
first Super Rugby match of 2019.
Kick-off for Friday's clash is scheduled for 08:35 (SA time).
15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Fraser Armstrong
Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Wes Goosen
15 David Havili, 14 Braydon Ennor, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Harry Allan
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Will Jordan