Crusaders skipper Sam Whitelock has lauded the durability of teammate Matt Todd after the flanker agreed to endure the pain of a broken thumb for tomorrow's clash with the Hurricanes.
Matt Todd of the Crusaders is tackled by Phil Burleigh of the Highlanders with Ryan Crotty in support during a Super Rugby game between Crusaders and the Highlanders at AMI Stadium, Christchurch.
Todd fractured his thumb in the Crusaders' 45-23 victory over the Chiefs a fortnight ago and could've been out for up to six weeks.
Instead, he has returned in two - and with the bone not yet fully healed.
Whitelock lauded his fellow All Black for pushing through the pain barrier for the sake of his team, who'll face their toughest challenge of 2018 to date.
Todd's surgeon gave him the green light to play, saying it wouldn't cause further damage, but he will wear a protective guard.
"He's always going to put the team first so if he's ready to go, he'll get out there, and if not, he won't - it just shows how tough he is as a man, and it's nice to have him out there," Whitelock said.
The Crusaders have lost their last four matches in Wellington, including last year's late-season clash, and won just three of their past 10 Canes meet-ups.
The 96-Test Whitelock was confident his troops could turn that trend around, but would have to be on guard for the Canes' running game.
They'd look to win three from three in 2018, having downed the Chiefs in week one and the Stormers 45-28 in last week's game.
"Any team in this competition, you give them easy pill and they'll burn you, score from anywhere - the Canes are the team that sum that up," Whitelock said.
"We've had a really good review after the game on the weekend and at times we had control and at other times they did - we've had a good look at that, and trying to work out how we can have control the whole time."