The Crusaders could be without several All Blacks for the start of next season.
As reported by the Herald in October, the Crusaders will be without Sam Whitelock who will be missing the first four matches of the Super Rugby season to recuperate fully before the All Blacks' World Cup defence.
Today the Crusaders revealed that All Blacks captain Kieran Read will be joining Whitelock for an extended breather next year, with hooker Codie Taylor possibly also taking a break after a grueling international season.
Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan said that Read, like Sam Whitelock, was a "special case", and would also be missing around four weeks.
There is reportedly a two week mandatory break for All Blacks at the start of next year's Super Rugby season, meaning both Read and Whitelock could miss up to six weeks for the Crusaders.
Taylor could also be granted an extended break, Ryan confirmed.
Whitelock and Read also missed a chunk of the season this year: Whitelock sat out a period with concussion issues, while Read missed the first nine weeks of the season while recovering from back surgery.
The rest of the All Blacks in the Crusaders squad are expected to run out from the start of the season.