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Crockett to make history against Sunwolves

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017

It will be an historic night when the Crusaders meet the Sunwolves for the first time on Friday night in Christchurch.

Not only will it be the Sunwolves' first visit to New Zealand shores but the clash with the Japanese side will see Wyatt Crockett break Keven Mealamu's Super Rugby record with his 176th appearance in Crusaders' colours.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson paid tribute to his experienced loose-head prop.

"Crocky is the epitome of what we describe around here as a 'Crusaders man'," Robertson said.

"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."

The Crusaders have used 35 of their 38 man squad this season, but that turnover is about to settle somewhat with Kieran Read and Richie Mo'unga returning.

Read will replace Whetu Douglas at No.8 and Mo'unga will take the place of the impressive Mitch Hunt at first-five after recovering from a hand injury.

Assistant coach Brad Mooar is delighted to see the duo back to full fitness and says midfielder Ryan Crotty also isn't far from a return.

"Crots has been cleared of serious injury so that is a scare that has been cared for really well and we are hoping he will be available next week (against the Stormers)."

With the future of a number of teams still undecided the Sunwolves come to Christchurch full of confidence knowing their future is secure and on a high after a nail-biting win over the Bulls.

Mooar, who spent the 2013 season as an assistant coach at the Southern Kings, had empathy for the sides that are in jeopardy.

"The real shame for the sides that are in doubt is the uncertainty.

"(When you think of) the board, the fans, the coaching staff, management staff, support staff and of course the players (of those teams) that is really tough so I have real empathy for what those sides would be feeling.

"I saw the Force versus Kings game. It was a heck of a game and obviously those sides were playing their hearts out for their fans."

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