19 Mar 2015

McCaw out, Dagg in for Crusaders

2:43 pm on 19 March 2015

Richie McCaw has been left out of the Crusaders squad to play the Cheetahs in their Super Rugby match in Christchurch on Saturday, while fullback Israel Dagg returns from injury.

Matt Todd (L) and Richie McCaw

Matt Todd (L) and Richie McCaw Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Matt Todd has been named to start at openside flanker with McCaw left out of the squad altogether.

The coach Todd Blackadder says the decision to rest McCaw is just squad rotation and not part of the All Blacks plan to rest players before the Rugby World Cup.

"It's purely rotation and that was part of the plan for both Richie and Matt, both looked a little worn out a couple of weeks ago," Blackadder says.

"Matt Todd had led the team, played all the pre-season games and I could just tell last week that he needed a break, just by his body language, he was sore, making a lot of tackles and picking up a couple of niggles and Richie was much in the same boat so it was just about freshening those two up."

Dagg will play just his second match of the season, starting at fullback after recovering from the leg injury he picked up in the Crusaders' opener against the Highlanders.

Codie Taylor will replace Ben Funnell to start at hooker, while Kieron Fonotia replaces Johnny McNicholl on the wing, who suffered a serious knee injury last week.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Dan Carter, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis; Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whielock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett

Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Luke Whitelock, Mitchell Drummond, Tom Taylor, David Havili