Dagg rested, Read still concussed

Date published: May 15 2014

The Crusaders have made three changes to their starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Sharks but skipper Kieran Read is still absent.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Sharks but skipper Kieran Read is absent for the third straight match as he continues his recovery from concussion.

Tom Taylor starts at full-back and as Israel Dagg is rested. In the second row, Dominic Bird comes in for Luke Romano, who is out with a broken ankle.

Scrum-halves Willi Heinz and Andy Ellis have rotated again so that Heinz takes the starting spot for his 50th Crusaders game.

Blackadder said Kieran Read was again ruled out of contention early in the week rather than pressuring him to be ready to play with little time to prepare.

“Kieran was still showing some really minor signs of concussion at the start of the week and, given that it's been a short week for us to prepare anyway due to a late flight back from Brisbane, we decided the sensible thing to do was to make the call early that he wouldn't be available,” said the coach.

“He hasn't been able to fully participate in contact training for a little while so we're better off giving him more space and time to get back to 100 percent,” Blackadder said.

Cruasaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ryan Crotty (c), 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Willie Heinz, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 George Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Date: Saturday, May 17
Venue: AAMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 10.35 local (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)