All Blacks captain Read to make Crusaders return
New Zealand captain Kieran Read will make his first Super Rugby appearance of the season in the Crusaders' derby against the Hurricanes on Friday.
Read was given a rest after the All Blacks' tour of Europe late last year, but the number eight will be back in action at the Westpac Stadium.
The 33-year-old's return is a timely boost for the defending champions following their surprise defeat to the Waratahs last weekend.
Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan said: "He's trained really well.
"He's been unbelievable for us off the field in getting the boys ready to play each week. He's on his toes, he's fresh and he's looking forward to it.
"If he gets an opportunity he'll definitely be an influence for us."
Read spent a long spell out of action last year after undergoing back surgery in December 2017.
The All Blacks skipper announced earlier this month that he will leave the Crusaders to join Japanese club Toyota Verblitz after the Rugby World Cup, bringing an end to his stellar New Zealand career.