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Crusaders will be without their stars for Highlanders

Crusaders captain Kieran Read is not expected back this year

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Article Published: Tuesday 16 April 2013

The Crusaders will be without a number of their key players including captain Kieran Read and first five-eighth Dan Carter for their tenth round Super Rugby match against the Highlanders.

The Crusaders return home to AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday after their tour of South Africa and Western Australia.

Read and Carter both missed the Crusaders last three rounds of Super Rugby due to injury and in Carter's case partially due to paternity leave.

Read injured his toe playing against the Southern Kings in Christchurch before the tour while Carter injured his hamstring in training for the Crusaders match against the Western Force.

The Highlanders have already suffered seven straight losses this season while the Crusaders are on a two match losing streak and have played seven matches and lost four matches.

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said at training on Tuesday that he was hoping to have Read and Carter available for their match against the Rebels who beat them last year.

Blackadder said that if the pair are not available for the Rebels game on April the 28th they should be available for the Brumbies match on May the 5th.

On the right day the Crusaders look like world beaters but they have been inconsistent but Blackadder is not blaming their stuttering form on the unavailability of big named players such as Richie McCaw, Read and Carter.

"This team has had ample opportunities to nail a result," he told Sportal.

"There's more in these guys and they've got to learn hard lessons. We can't always rely on the big guns as it's been proven in the past that we've had injuries at crucial times."

"This team has to show more resolve than they did at the weekend."

Blackadder said that what they had done in practise did not get on to the field agaisnt the Western Force.

"As a coaching team it is our job to prepare the guys to go out and perform and the signs were that they were ready for it.

"But that's not what we saw and it wasn't a performance we were proud of. We had a bloody good look at ourselves and now we've got everything to play for. "

"It is getting to a crucial time and we have to learn some lessons fast."

Blackadder pointed out that the draw had given them a tough start with five away games out of their first seven but that was now behind them and says that the next two matches will allow them to resurrect their campaign.

Blackadder said that they needed to focus on their decision making, stopping the lateral running and bringing the right resolve.

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