19 Feb 2014

McCaw to lead Crusaders, Muliaina to start for Chiefs

6:52 pm on 19 February 2014

Richie McCaw will lead the Crusaders from openside flanker in their first game of the Super Rugby season.

Coach Todd Blackadder's resisted the temptation to pair the All Blacks captain with last year's first choice in the No.7 jersey, Matt Todd.

The Crusaders host the Chiefs in the local conference opener on Friday night, and Blackadder says he decided not to move McCaw to number eight in order to start his fellow All Blacks flanker at No.7, and Todd will start on the bench.

Luke Whitelock starts at No.8 with Kieran Read still resting from international duty. Tyler Blyendaahl gets the nod at first five ahead of Tom Taylor, with Colin Slade injured.

There's no room in the matchday 23 for former All Black wing Zac Guildford.

The Chiefs have named their side too. Super Rugby centurion Mils Muliaina will start at fullback on his return to the champions.

Fellow former All Black Jamie Mackintosh starts at prop on his Chiefs debut after transferring from the Highlanders, and Robbie Fruean starts at centre against his old side.