Pretoria - The Crusaders have shown how seriously they are taking Saturday’s Loftus Versfeld showdown with the Vodacom Bulls by bringing back their kingpin “DC” – Dan Carter to resume the kicking duties for the team.
Carter played against the Lions last weekend but left the kicking duties to Tom Taylor, who did admirably as they swept aside an inept challenge from the Lions at Coca Cola Park.
But now with the Bulls ahead, and with the cannon boot of Morne Steyn to contend with, the Crusaders have dropped Taylor, brought in regular centre Ryan Crotty and given the responsibility back to the All Black flyhalf.
It seems the plan was always to have Carter back at full strength and now that they’re at altitude, they want their kingpin to have more of a controlling say in their game plan.
"We have seen through his actions this week that he is ready. I think last week it was a bit like having a toe in the water," Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder told Christchurch newspaper, The Press.
"Everyone expects big things from him but he is just normal, he just needed time in the saddle and to get a feel for things again. He probably got a good pass mark, but he is looking sharp this week."
According to the newspaper Carter looked comfortable in training sessions this week.
"That was always the plan," Blackadder said. "For the last month we have talked about this. Tom was doing a good job but he has still got a little bit to go.
"Ryan provides good leadership, is highly experienced and just gives us that punch. For these big games you need all the experience you can get out there."
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie,
12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard,
8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Juandre
Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18
Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12
Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran
Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke
Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19
Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Tom Marshall