Crusaders play 'safe card' on injured Read

Crusaders play 'safe card' on injured Read
By Reuters

19/05/2019 at 08:54Updated 19/05/2019 at 08:56

By Mark Gleeson

CAPE TOWN, May 19 (Reuters) - All Blacks captain Kieran Read missed Saturday's Super Rugby clash for the Canterbury Crusaders against the Stormers with a neck injury but his absence was just a precaution, said coach Scott Robertson.

"He tweaked his neck at training on Thursday and we gave it a day or so to be right," he explained.

"In the end, we played the safe card and made sure for the rest of the season he is right. It's just minor."

Further assessment will be undertaken on the loose forward's injury when the Super Rugby frontrunners return to Christchurch on Monday after two matches in South Africa, including the 19-19 draw at Newlands at the weekend.

"It’s always a funny feeling when you draw. We felt we did enough to win the game a few times, with line breaks but we just didn’t convert," Robertson added.

"But they stayed in it, their defence was incredible really -- reflective of the energy of the stadium and the crowd. The Stormers don’t often get beat here, showing how tough it is to win."

It was the double defending champions' second draw in their last three matches but they remain top of the overall standings with two home games to come against the Auckland Blues and Melbourne Rebels and a visit in between to the Waikato Chiefs.

Read, 33, played for the first time since last year's All Blacks end-of-season tour in late March, one of the senior internationals given an extended break in the off-season with an eye on the World Cup in Japan later this year.

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)