Crusaders welcome back Read for historic Sunwolves clash
New Zealand captain Kieran Read will make his Super Rugby return on Friday when Crusaders face Japanese franchise Sunwolves for the first time.
Read made his comeback from wrist surgery last weekend in a club rugby match for University in Christchurch, the number eight playing 40 minutes of the 60-11 win over Linwood.
The 31-year-old has been limited to a watching brief in Crusaders' opening six matches of the 2017 season, but will finally take to the field in round seven - which will also provide a welcome boost for the All Blacks ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour.
Crusaders also have Seta Tamanivalu (hamstring), Jack Goodhue (calf) and Richie Mo'unga (hand) back in action as they look to maintain their 100 per cent record so far, Scott Robertson's team having won all six matches - scoring 188 points along the way.
Read will be joined in the pack by Wyatt Crockett on his record 176th Super Rugby appearance, surpassing the previous best set by Keven Mealamu.
"Crocky is the epitome of what we describe around here as a 'Crusaders man'," said Robertson.
"Values like loyalty, team first, integrity and work ethic are central to what we ask of our players, and these are all qualities that come as second nature to Wyatt.
"It is entirely appropriate that we are celebrating him becoming the most capped Super Rugby player ever, because you simply would not find a player who shows more commitment, dependability and passion for his team than Wyatt Crockett."