Durban - Richie McCaw is back to lead the Crusaders as they line up the Sharks in a Super 14 match in Durban on Saturday.
All Blacks captain McCaw, who has not played for more than a month since suffering a medial ligament strain against the Highlanders, makes a timely return as his replacement during his absence, George Whitelock, is heading home from the side's tour South Africa for treatment on a knee injury.
Also slated for a start is scrumhalf Andy Ellis who has been out with sore ribs for a number of weeks, missing the Crusaders last match against the Bulls two weeks ago.
Ellis has been bracketed with Kahn Fotuali'i.
With centre Casey Laulala's season ending with a broken arm suffered during the 16-13 defeat of the Bulls, coach Todd Blackaader has opted to start Tim Bateman in his place.
Ryan Crotty has been promoted off the bench into the No 12 shirt.
Leon MacDonald, Jared Payne, Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, Colin Slade, Stephen Brett, Andy Ellis/Kahn Fotuali'i, Thomas Waldrom, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read, Isaac Ross, Brad Thorn, Bronson Murray, Jason Macdonald, Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: Daniel Perrin, Owen Franks, Ross Filipo, Michael Paterson, Kahn Fotuali'i/Tyson Keats, Adam Whitelock, Kade Poki.