McCaw back for CT crusade
Wellington - The Crusaders will be boosted by the return of captain Richie McCaw for their Super rugby semi-final clash against the Stormers in Cape Town this weekend, the New Zealand club said on Thursday.
The All Blacks flanker had been on the treatment table after suffering a stress fracture of the foot in the last-kick defeat by the Reds in Brisbane on May 29.
However, McCaw has been cleared to start ahead of Matt Todd at Newlands, the seven-times champion Crusaders said in a statement.
Number eight Kieran Read also returns from an ankle injury for the Cape Town crunch match, the winners of which move on to face either the Reds or the Blues in the final.
McCaw's addition is the only change to the Crusaders side which feasted on the Sharks 36-8 last weekend and hooker Corey Flynn will mark a milestone with his 100th game for the side.
The Crusaders will not be able to call on Israel Dagg (thigh) and Adam Whitelock (chest muscle) for the semi-final, however.
Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee has looked to add experience to what will be an intense contest by bringing back full-back Conrad Jantjes into the starting line-up.
Coetzee is banking on Jantjes's defensive qualities to bolster his side's backline, with Juan de Jongh moving to the bench.
The selection of flanker Nick Koster is the other major switch, coming in for the injured Duane Vermeulen.
"The Crusaders have class all over the pitch and we know the huge challenge that they pose," Coetzee said. "Our physical intensity will have to be massive for the full 80 minutes."
15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12
Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8
Nick Koster, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 Andries
Bekker, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus
Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Anton
van Zyl, 19 Schalk Brits, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22
15 Tom Marshall, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (capt), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Matt Todd, 20 Kahn Foutali'i, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Ryan Crotty