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Having struggled with injury and illness for a great portion of the 2014 campaign, it's understandable that Kieran Read hasn't always played at his optimum in the wake of being christened 2013 IRB Player of the Year.
However, turning up on the biggest stage is a veritable indicator of true quality, and Read's display against the Sharks showed glimpses of the No. 8 at his rampaging, free-handed best.
As per usual, Read found himself gravitating toward the flanks, offloading around the back of his tacklers as has so tremendously become his trademark. But his biggest contribution came in the 16th minute, where quick hands through the backs opened up just enough space for Read to leave his mark.
Scoring the opening try of the game from a break down the left fashioned by his own blend of pace, power and agile stepping, the Crusaders giant once again looked like the Read we were more used to seeing last year.
The official All Blacks Twitter account was quick to praise its international asset:
The titanic presence couldn't keep up the same speed in the second period, but he was substituted after beating four defenders and finishing the match as the Crusaders' third-highest earner in metres made (49)
Now, a third career Super Rugby final looms for the Canterbury talisman, where Todd Blackadder can only hope his resurgence is stepped up another notch.