Crusaders boosted by Kieran Read’s return

David Skippers

Kieran Read of the Crusaders during the 2019 Super Rugby match between Bulls and Crusaders at the Loftus Versveld Stadium, Pretoria on the 10 May 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The Crusaders have been boosted by the return of All Blacks captain Kieran Read for their Super Rugby derby against the Chiefs in Suva on Saturday. 

Head Coach Scott Robertson has named a strong starting line-up for the match, which also includes a return to the starting side for Billy Harmon, Mitch Drummond and Braydon Ennor. Ben Funnell and Mitch Dunshea also feature in the matchday 23 this week.

Harmon has earned a start this week in place of vice-captain Matt Todd, who has been rested. Read’s return sees Whetukamokamo Douglas move from number eight to the blindside flank, and Jordan Taufua shift to the reserves.

The two changes in the backline from the side that took the field against the Blues last Saturday night see Bryn Hall and George Bridge move to the bench, making way for Drummond and Ennor to start this game.

“Fijian fans love their rugby, and the locals always provide a warm welcome to the team whenever we play here,” Robertson said.

“While this is a Chiefs home game, we are fortunate to have plenty of support in Suva, and look forward to the opportunity to connect with Crusaders fans over the next few days. We love playing in the heat, it’s something we’ll embrace in Fiji and make the most of the experience.”

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Braydon Ennor, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 18 George Bower, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 George Bridge

Date: Saturday, June 1
Venue: ANZ National Stadium, Suva
Kick-off: 19:35 (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), James Munro (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)