Crusaders

Read signs off in style

Read was instrumental in helping his side produce a clinical 19-3 victory over the Jaguares in Christchurch to complete a "three-peat" and win their 10th Super Rugby title.

The 33-year-old is heading to Japanese club Toyota after the Rugby World Cup this year and he left Christchurch content with the end to his Super Rugby career that began in 2007.

"It's given me everything," Read said of what the Crusaders meant to him in a televised interview. "I love this place.

Perfect 10 for the Crusaders

The two-time defending champions have beaten the Jaguares 19-3 in the final in Christchurch, despite the Argentinian side having the greater share of possession and territory.

Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor scored the only try of the match, while first-five Richie Mo'unga kicked four penalties and a conversion.

Captain Sam Whitelock spoke of his immense pride in all of his players after being handed the trophy for the third straight season.

Crusaders have "brought the community together"

The match at Rugby League Park comes just 16 weeks after Christchurch became the site of New Zealand's worst massacre when 51 people were killed in a mass shooting at two mosques on March 15.

For a population still rebuilding after a 2011 earthquake devastated the city and killed about 190 people, the shootings were a harsh body blow and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson recognised the turmoil the community has faced in recent months.

Creevy: We respect Crusaders, but we start on an equal footing

While the Crusaders were founding members of Super 12 and will be hunting their 10th title in their 14th final on Saturday, the Argentine side blew in only four years ago in the otherwise ill-fated expansion to 18 teams.

They have, however, seized their opportunity with both hands, stacking the team with internationals and creating the one major success story of the game's desire to raise standards in non-traditional rugby markets.

Crusaders and All Blacks lose Crotty and Barrett

And the All Blacks duo are also in line to miss the Rugby Championship that follows.

Crotty fractured his thumb in the semi-final win over the Hurricanes and had surgery on Sunday to stabilize it.

He will be sidelined for up to eight weeks.

Barrett will miss the next five to six weeks after fracturing the second metacarpal at the base of his index finger.

The Crusaders have ready-made replacements in the midfield and at lock.

Mo'unga shines as Crusaders storm home

With a breathtaking blend of defensive grunt and attacking inspiration, the double defending champions kept their perfect home record in playoffs intact and extended their unbeaten winning streak at Rugby League Park to 29 matches.

They will return to the venue to meet the winner of the Hurricanes and the Bulls, who play their quarter-final on Saturday.

"We knew it was going to be tough, quarter-finals are always tough," Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock said.

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."

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).