All Blacks prop Ben Franks has asked for a release from the Crusaders and coach Todd Blackadder says he understands why the player feels he has to leave.
Franks, 28, is the third-ranked prop at the Crusaders behind Wyatt Crockett and brother Owen Franks, and is believed to be keen to join the Highlanders next season.
Franks, who has played 18 tests, is contracted to the Crusaders next year but can leave if the franchise lets him.
"This isn't because he doesn't like the Crusaders or anything but he has asked us to consider it and we've said yes we will," Blackadder told Radio Sport today .
The Crusaders rotated Crockett and the Franks brothers throughout their disappointing season, in which they were beaten by the Chiefs in the semifinal, with Blackadder saying it might not be best policy.
"We're not sure whether the whole rotation thing works itself ... , we're not sure it creates the hunger that is needed.
"For his own career he probably needs to start every week and we can't guarantee that," Blackadder said.
Young Canterbury props Nepo Laulala and Joe Moody could form a covering role next season, with the Crusaders looking for consistency in starting Crockett and Owen every week, he said.
Blackadder said All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg had agreed to return to the Crusaders next season but had yet to formalise it by signing with the New Zealand Rugby Union.