Read, Carter to start for Crusaders?

Date published: June 30 2014

With just two regular season matches left, the stage is set for Kieran Read and Dan Carter to return to the Crusaders starting XV.

With just two regular season matches left, the stage is set for Kieran Read and Dan Carter to return to the Crusaders starting XV.

Read and Carter were used as replacements in Saturday's 16-9 defeat to the Hurricanes in Wellington.

The Crusaders' final matches of the league phase of the competition are against the Blues and Highlanders in Christchurch, and some of the seven-time champions' fans are worried they might miss out on the play-offs if they lose both those matches.

After their lethargic performance against the Hurricanes, getting the All Blacks stalwarts into the run-on side could be the perfect way to help the Crusaders return to the victory trail but Crusaders assistant coach Dave Hewett wouldn't confirm or deny that either player would start against the blues this weekend.

''We haven't even gone down that path from a selection point of view,'' Hewett told Fairfax Media.

''Obviously both of them had a little bit of game time and the two individuals performed pretty well in the limited capacity they had.

''They will both be contention, it's just a matter of what sort of mix we can run with this weekend.''

Hewett said Colin Slade, who was replaced by Carter after failing a concussion test in Wellington, will undergo more tests before the side is named on Thursday.

Slade is expected to complete a computerised concussion test, called Cogsport, if he has no post-concussion symptoms.

''So far he has pulled-up pretty well,'' said Hewett.

''Obviously he will have to go through the procedures of CogSport and re-sitting that and making sure everything is okay.

''It's (the test) not every day. It's as the medical staff see fit. If you have symptoms you don't do it but if you don't (have symptoms) then you do a CogSport test and if you are fine on that then you are in line for selection.

''But the CogSport not is the be-all and end-all and there are a lot of other things that go into it.''

Hewett said Read, whose season has been plagued by concussion issues, ''seemed to be in a good place''.

The number eight hurt his ankle against the Hurricanes and along with Jordan Taufua (knee) will be monitored by the medical staff.

If Read and Carter are fully fit it would be surprising if they are not in the starting line-up.

Carter could start at fly-half or inside centre. If he starts in the number 10 jersey Colin Slade could move to full-back if Israel Dagg is still unfit.

If Carter start at inside centre then Ryan Crotty is expected to wear the number 13 jersey.

''If required they can play 80 but you don't want to drop them straight in the deep end if you don't have to,'' added Hewett in reference to Carter and Read's lack of game-time.

''Obviously that wouldn't be the desirable length of time but, you never know, it could happen.''