Christchurch - The Crusaders
started their long trek to South Africa in search of their eighth Super Rugby
title with Kieran Read and Owen Franks on the plane despite limping off in the semi-final victory over the Chiefs.
All Blacks captain Read hurt his knee and limped off in the final few minutes of the 27-13 victory at Rugby League Park, while Franks was replaced at halftime after a long-standing Achilles injury flared up.
The Crusaders were required to wait until after the semi-final between the Lions and Hurricanes before they knew where they would be playing the final and headed to the airport soon after the South Africans won the game 44-29.
Both were on the plane heading towards South Africa, the Crusaders told local media on Sunday.
Their inclusion was good news for the seven-time champions who demonstrated again on Saturday their ability to win games most other teams would probably lose.
Several of their 14 regular season wins were come-from-behind victories and on Saturday they had virtually no ball but still managed to score four tries.
It came on the back of a tremendous forward effort in atrocious conditions in the quarter-final against the Highlanders and centre Ryan Crotty felt it would put them in good stead for the highveldt at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.