Vodacom Super Rugby
McCaw ruled out with injury
Wellington - The Crusaders's inspirational captain Richie McCaw will miss his side's crunch Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Blues on Saturday due to a foot injury.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder, whose side have the chance to leapfrog the Blues and lead the New Zealand conference with a win at Timaru, said McCaw was suffering discomfort in his foot, which was operated on in the pre-season.
However the loss of McCaw was eased by the return of halfback Andy Ellis and lock Sam Whitelock, who has been sidelined with ligament damage since late March.
"It's fantastic to have big Sam Whitelock back, we've really missed him," Blackadder said. "I know he's really keen to get back out there and it takes the pressure off the other forwards as well."
Blackadder said the Crusaders were refreshed after a bye last weekend and eager to face the Blues, who will be desperate to end a three-match losing streak.
"This match will be a big occasion, the Blues are a top team, they beat us in round one, and both teams have everything to play for," he said.
"We're well rested after our bye in the weekend but will have to turn up ready to go on Saturday."
15 Tom Marshall, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Robbie Fruean,
12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8
Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam
Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks
16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Jonathan
Poff, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Mat Berquist, 22 Ryan Crotty