Carter to start at flyhalf
Wellington - Dan Carter will start the Crusaders' last warm-up match ahead of potentially his final Super Rugby season against the Reds on Friday at flyhalf with team-mate Colin Slade switching to fullback.
The 32-year-old Carter, who will join French side Racing Metro at the conclusion of this year's World Cup, had played mostly at inside centre last year when he returned to the Crusaders from a sabbatical to accommodate Slade's good form.
The fact he will play in his preferred flyhalf position suggests he will get the nod from coach Todd Blackadder to start there for the Crusaders' opening game against the Melbourne Rebels on February 13 in Christchurch.
Slade and tighthead prop Owen Franks will also be making their first appearance for the Crusaders in 2015 after they had an extended break due to All Blacks' duties.
Carter, who barely played at all in 2013, opted to join the team as early as possible for pre-season training as he begins what is likely to be his last year in New Zealand rugby.
The Crusaders' first match dovetails with the opening of the cricket World Cup, which begins on Feb. 14 with a match between co-hosts New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
15 Colin Slade, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Tom
Taylor, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Luke Whitelock,
7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Alex Hodgman
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Ged Robinson, 18 Joe
Moody, 19 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 20 Scott Barrett, 21 Tom Sanders, 22 Billy Guyton, 23
Nathaniel Apa, 24 Nafi Tuitavaki, 25David Havili