Crusaders to be without Crotty for Chiefs clash

The Crusaders look set to start Dan Carter in the No 12 jersey this weekend against the Chiefs as Ryan Crotty has been ruled out due to concussion.

Crotty suffered a knock to the head in the Crusaders 20-25 loss to the Highlanders on Saturday and has been pulled from Friday’s match in Christchurch as a precaution.

Carter came off the replacements bench against the Highlanders having missed the match against the Sharks on paternity leave.

Colin Slade is expected to retain the first five jersey and Carter should start at second five eighth.

While losing Crotty is a blow for the Crusaders it is offset a little by the return of loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett and lock Luke Romano who were rested against the Highlanders.

There was concern for winger Nemani Nadolo when he left the field due to a knee injury but Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says the Fijian should be fine to play.

This weekend’s match against the Chiefs is shaping up to be a crucial match as the loss to the Highlanders has seen the Crusaders drop to fourth in the New Zealand Conference.

“It wasn’t a great night to be a Crusader. If anything, we got our noses rubbed right in it,” Blackadder told Stuff.

“That was a real lesson and real wake-up call exactly where we were that day and we were a mile off the pace.”

The Crusaders have played eight matches and the loss to the Highlanders was their fourth of the season and one of those losses was a 40-16 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton in February.

Blackadder expects the Chiefs to use a similar rush defence to what the Highlanders used against them on Saturday.

“We want to see defences flying up … If teams are rushing us, there’s plenty of opportunities, out wide and inside, that we didn’t quite exploit (against the Highlanders]. We’ve got to be better at reading that.”

Blackadder said that he was happy with the Crusaders attack but rued some of thieir costly defensive lapses and says they will need to address their blindside defence before facing the Chiefs.

“We actually played really well for most of that game (against the Highlanders). I felt we had a lot of dominance there.

“We probably got exposed on a little bit of discipline and our blindside ‘D’ wasn’t really up to scratch.”

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