A rib injury has sidelined Kieran Read for at least one week and the Crusaders are considering Luke Whitelock as a potential No 8 replacement.
Read injured his ribs in last Friday’s match against the Chiefs. He will definitely not play against the Force in the Crusaders’ last league match, and coach Todd Blackadder hopes the All Blacks loose forward will be fit for the play-offs.
Richie McCaw has deputised for Read at No 8 this season, but Blackadder told Fairfax News that there are other options. Whitelock or even Matt Todd could start against the Force.
‘I would really like to see Richie back at No 7 and maybe we will mix things around a bit,’ Blackadder said. ‘Having Richie there [at No 8] is definitely one option that has worked for us.
‘The other is that I could try and put a specialist No 8 in there like young Luke – or I change the configuration of the other loose forwards for just this one game.’