You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Read breaks thumb in Crusaders win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/04/2017

Crusaders captain Kieran Read © Getty Images Crusaders captain Kieran Read All Blacks captain Kieran Read has undergone surgery on a broken thumb in Bloemfontein, casting doubt over his availability for the June series against the British and Irish Lions.

Kieran suffered a fracture at the base of his right thumb midway through the Crusaders' 48-21 win over the Cheetahs on Saturday.

A team statement said his return date will be uncertain until further assessments are carried out.

An initial estimation is a six-week recovery time, which would make him available for the Test series against the Lions starting on June 24, albeit with a limited buildup.

It was just Read's third game back after undergoing wrist surgery in the off-season, sidelining him since last November.

Assistant coach Jason Ryan said a disappointed Read will be replaced in South Africa by Quinten Strange.

"The guy has worked so hard off the field to get his hand right from the surgery he had during the off-season and has been world class since returning to the field," Ryan said.

"Obviously it's disappointing and will be concerning for the All Blacks."

The injury overshadowed another resounding display for the Crusaders, who made it nine wins from nine, running in seven tries to cement their Super Rugby top spot.

Winger George Bridge scored three tries while winger David Havili bagged a double in a match at Bloemfontein laced with long-range attacks from both teams.

The Cheetahs crossed three times but couldn't prevent a sixth straight loss to further diminish their play-off hopes.

The hosts missed 43 tackles, allowing the Crusaders backs ample room to show their wares. Powerful left winger Bridge was the chief recipient, lifting his season tally to seven tries.

Victory was a fitting result for workhorse flanker Matt Todd in his 100th Super Rugby game.

Another Crusaders concern was late ill-discipline which resulted in yellow cards to Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock and reserve back Mitchell Hunt.

All Blacks lock Whitelock was punished for an elbow to the face of Cheetahs reserve prop Charles Marais, after being tackled in mid-air while fielding a kick-off.

His side finished with 13 men, allowing Sergeal Petersen to score a try on the stroke of fulltime.

Fellow winger Raymond Rhule scored the only first-half try for the Cheetahs, who trailed 22-7 at the break, while dynamic prop Ox Nche crossed in the second spell.

Havili bagged the Crusader's opener after a series of early chances were botched before Bridge crossed twice in succession.

Their four second-half tries came in the space of 20 minutes, with first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga and reserve halfback Mitchell Drummond joining Havili and Bridge on the scoresheet.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon