25 Jul 2014

McCaw back for Crusaders

9:32 am on 25 July 2014

The All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been rushed back into the Crusaders starting XV for Saturday's Super Rugby semi-final against the Sharks in Christchurch.

McCaw has recovered from injury and will play at blindside, pushing Jordan Taufua to the bench.

Coach Todd Blackadder says incumbant openside Matt Todd's form was too good to overlook, forcing McCaw to play out of his preferred position.

Kieran Read captains the side from number 8.

Corey Flynn has claimed the starting hookers spot for his 150th Crusaders game, with Ben Funnell dropping to the reserves.

There are no other changes to the starting XV.

The Crusaders secured a home semi-final by finishing second on the overall points table, while the Sharks beat the Highlanders in their playoff eliminator to qualify.

Coach Todd Blackadder says the side is preparing for their toughest game yet as both teams will be giving everything they've got in their quest to make the Grand Final.

Kick off is at 7:35pm on Saturday night.

Crusaders team to play the Sharks:

1. Wyatt Crockett

2. Corey Flynn

3. Owen Franks

4. Dominic Bird

5. Samuel Whitelock

6. Richie McCaw

7. Matt Todd

8. Kieran Read (C)

9. Andy Ellis

10. Colin Slade

11. Nemani Nadolo

12. Dan Carter

13. Ryan Crotty (VC)

14. Kieron Fonotia

15. Israel Dagg


16. Ben Funnell

17. Joe Moody

18. Nepo Laulala

19. Jimmy Tupou

20. Jordan Taufua

21. Willi Heinz

22. Tom Taylor

23. Johnny McNicholl.