Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Stadium photo-op failure adds to finals tension

Kieran Read. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Kieran Read. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Crusaders captain Kieran Read caused a minor controversy ahead of tonight's Super Rugby final when he left a captain's photo opportunity before his Waratahs counterpart Michael Hooper arrived.

Yesterday's media event, planned to include Read, Hooper and the trophy at Sydney's Olympic Stadium, ended in disarray when the Waratahs' skipper was delayed, apparently by traffic.

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Read was at the stadium for the scheduled 12.15pm Sydney time start and decided to leave after waiting 25 minutes for Hooper and getting word that the loose forward was still 20 minutes away.

A Crusaders spokeswoman said Read had to leave otherwise he would have been late for a team lunch.

The failure to get the two captains together might have disappointed photographers, but it brings things to the boil nicely for tonight's clash.

It is also reminiscent of an incident in Brisbane before the 2011 final between the Crusaders and the Reds. For a similar photo opportunity, the then Crusaders captain Richie McCaw was picked up from his team's city hotel by a Reds' representative. The event, with Reds skipper James Horwill, went as planned, only for McCaw's driver to say she was unavailable to take him back to the hotel, telling him to call a taxi instead.

The snub was handled with good grace, but it lent a jarring note to what had been a tough week of travel for the Crusaders, who had flown in from their semifinal in Cape Town.

- NZ Herald

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