Ryan Crotty to play 150th match as Crusaders aim for top spot

Crotty will slot in a second-five, partnering All Blacks teammate Jack Goodhue in the midfield, as the two-time defending champions aim to bounce back from last week's dismal 40-27 defeat to the Chiefs in Suva.

As a token of Crotty's services to the club, the Christchurch Stadium West Stand has been renamed the 'Ryan Crotty Stand' for this match.

Owen Franks poised for return for Crusaders against Rebels

The veteran prop's been struggling with a muscle tear in his right shoulder but has survived what appeared to be a busy training session in Christchurch on Tuesday.

Franks has to get through the full week to be considered for Saturday night's final round robin game against the Rebels. 

"It was great for him to get a good session in today," said assistant coach Ronan O'Gara. "He's tracking along nicely.

"He's been out for a substantial amount of time, so you have to be careful. He's such a prized asset that you've got to make sure you get his return to play right."

All Blacks captain Kieran Read returns for Crusaders after fortnight off

Read's inclusion at No 8 for the first time since the Crusaders' comprehensive win against the Bulls in Pretoria on May 10 is one of only a few changes to the starting XV for their round 16 clash against the Chiefs in Suva. 

Read, who has only played six matches this season, missed the team's 19-19 draw with the Stormers in Cape Town after taking a blow to the shoulder/neck at training, and likely wouldn't have been risked last week against the Blues, had he not been on a pre-determined All Blacks rest week. 

Richie Mo'unga and George Bridge to play for Crusaders this weekend

A group of players, including Bridge, are accused of making homophobic remarks to a group of men in a Cape Town restaurant.

All Blacks first five Richie Mo'unga is said to have spat beer on a woman and touched her inappropriately.

The alleged incidents - which have been denied by the players - occurred on the team's recent tour of South Africa.

The coach Scott Robertson has named both players to start against the Blues for Saturday's game and says the players are looking forward to their side of the story coming out.

Crusaders 'desperately' want CCTV footage of alleged incident

New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders have brought in lawyer Steph Dyhrberg to investigate the claims that emerged following separate late-night incidents while the Crusaders were in South Africa this month.

New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders say they are treating the allegations seriously - though they clash with the players' own version of events.

The first incident allegedly occurred in a Cape Town bar during the weekend of 11 and 12 May after the team arrived in the city following their game against the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday night (South African time).

Crusaders held to draw by Stormers after last-ditch penalty goal

A Jean-Luc du Plessis penalty goal after the hooter salvaged the Stormers a 19-19 draw with the reigning champions in Cape Town on Sunday morning (NZT). 

Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock could only shake his head, knowing the penalty Nic Berry blew for a high shot by replacement prop Oli Jager was touch and go. 

There was no doubt also lingering frustration from the contentious TMO call in the 75th minute, when South African Marius Jonker rubbed out what appeared to be a superb game-clinching try by wing Sevu Reece.

Richie Mo'unga powers Crusaders to bonus point win over Bulls

A week after sitting out their scrappy 21-21 draw with the Sharks, the fleet-footed pivot scored two tries in the opening 22 minutes and put on a play-making clinic to fuel the red and blacks' bonus point win at Loftus Versfeld. 

Romping past the second-placed Bulls propelled the Crusaders seven points clear of the Hurricanes in the New Zealand conference and, with just four regular season matches remaining on their schedule, it was another big stride towards sealing the top seed. 

Clinical Crusaders too good for Highlanders

It was the first time the two teams had met this Super Rugby season, after their March 16 match in Dunedin was cancelled following the Christchurch mosque shootings the day before.

Although the Crusaders initially looked out of sorts and trailed by three at half-time, they proved brutally efficient in the second spell in amassing five tries for a comprehensive win which extended their unbeaten run at home to 24 matches.

Crusaders name, swords and horses have got to go, says Muslim advocate

On Wednesday the Crusaders and New Zealand Rugby announced they would this season seek feedback on the Crusaders name, giving two options.

One was to remove the sword-wielding horsemen that has been part of pre-match entertainment, the second was to change the branding, as well as the Crusaders name that has been with the team since 1996.

Changing the imagery only would be an insult and defeat the purpose altogether, advocate Guled Mire told Radio New Zealand.

Crusaders capitalise on Canes' mistakes

Will Jordan and Braydon Ennor also crossed for the visitors who moved to 24 points on the table, giving themselves some breathing room ahead of the Hurricanes (19) at the top of the New Zealand conference.

Ngani Laumape scored the Hurricanes' only try in the match in which both sides committed numerous errors while the Crusaders defence forced several turnovers when the hosts were on attack.