Read, Crotty likely available

Kieran Read. Photo: Getty Images
Kieran Read. Photo: Getty Images
The Crusaders look set to receive a big lift in their squad for Saturday's quarterfinal against the Sharks in Christchurch.

Kieran Read and Ryan Crotty look like sure starters.

Both players were injured in the side's win over the Blues last weekend, but assistant coach Jason Ryan told Radio Sport the team was "pretty confident" the All Blacks pair would be ready to go.

The pair had to get through the team's toughest preparation session on Thursday, but Ryan said the two were looking ready.

Read has spent a lot of the season on the sidelines due to injuries this season. Despite not having a lot of football under his belt, Ryan said Read had been "outstanding" for the side all year.

He said Read was in good form despite little game time, and once he was confident in contact he'd be back to more or less 100%.

"If we get him good minutes under the belt this week, he'll be starting to really hit his straps," Ryan said.

"Getting that confidence back, and physicality - being tackled, making tackles, mauling and that sort of thing - it takes its time, but he's an athlete and a world-class player. He's done a lot of work on and off the field; he won't be far away from full straps at all."

The Crusaders will meet a Sharks side with nothing to lose and everything to gain on Saturday night. Sneaking into the playoffs in the final round, Ryan said the Sharks were not to be taken lightly.

"We haven't played a South African team for 16 weeks...we've got to be up for it mentally and physically."

While the Crusaders were likely to see Read and Crotty suit up on Saturday, prop Joe Moody has been ruled out of contention for the squad due to an ongoing knee injury.

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