KSA Shark ©

Blackadder rings the Crusaders’ changes


Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 21 Apr 2010 at 05:30
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Todd Blackadder has predictably rung the changes in his Crusaders team to face the Western Force in Perth on Friday night, but it’s perhaps one he didn’t make that is the most significant as the seven-time champions prepare for their playoff push.

Rugbyheaven NZ reports that Blackadder has left the All Blacks captain Richie McCaw on his preferred openside flank for a second straight match, after the world’s best No 7 had spent the bulk of the campaign previously at No 6 operating in a sort of dual-fetcher role with George Whitelock.

McCaw admitted he may have been “sub-consciously” boosted by his return there in last week’s 45-6 romp over the Cheetahs, though is adamant that he doesn’t mind which flank he plays on.

But Blackadder’s selection this week is surely a pointer that McCaw is set for an extended run in the position not only where he operates best, but where he is most comfortable.

The other features of a lineup featuring nine changes all told sees Dan Carter return from injury and Kahn Fotuali’i retain the halfback jersey ahead of Andy Ellis as Blackadder continues to use the depth in his squad on the first leg of their three-game road swing.

There are four changes in the pack and another five in the backline, with Blackadder clearly conscious of keeping one or two bodies fresh for the next fortnight when they will visit the Stormers and Bulls in fixtures that will have a major bearing on the makeup of the top four.

Blackadder has remade his back three with Sean Maitland moving to fullback, Adam Whitelock coming in on the right wing and Zac Guildford returning to his customary No 11 jersey. Colin Slade drops to the bench to provide cover.

Robbie Fruean also returns at centre, Daniel Carter is back after hip problems ruled him out against the Cheetahs and in the most notable selection of all, Fotuali’i retains the No 9 jersey despite Ellis being fit again after concussion problems.

Blackadder said that came down to a decision based purely and simply on form after the Tasman halfback made the most of his chances in Ellis’ absence.

“He’s been on fire,” Blackadder told The Press.

“We reward those guys that do play well and you see them coming into the starting lineup when they do play well, and Kahn is one of them. That is taking nothing away from Andy whatsoever but we have got a guy in red-hot form and we are going to reward him for that.”

Up front Blackadder has given Thomas Waldrom another chance at No 8 after a strong outing against the Cheetahs, meaning George Whitelock drops to the bench to allow Kieran Read to slot back in on the blindside flank.

The All Blacks captain gets another start at openside after admitting he may have been “sub-consciously” boosted by his return there against the Cheetahs after playing most of the season at No 6. McCaw is adamant that he doesn’t mind which flank he plays on, but Blackadder’s selection this week is a pointer that the best No 7 in the world is set for an extended run where he operates best.

Veteran Brad Thorn also returns to the second row where he’ll partner Chris Jack, with Sam Whitelock dropping to the bench, while it’s another Franks brothers affair in the front row, with Owen back on the tighthead side and Ben moving across to take Wyatt Crockett’s No 1 jersey.

McCaw told Radio Sport today that the big focus this week was on better ball-security.

“Last week we turned over a bit of ball, and if you do that against teams like the Bulls and Stormers, and even the Force, they’ve got the ability to capitalise on it. That’s one area we need to tidy up.

“But there are things that are going well,” he added. “The scrum’s been ticking along not too bad and we’ve been creating some turnovers and using the ball.

“Parts of our game are pretty good and if we can perhaps hold on to the ball a bit more and build a bit more pressure…”

McCaw admitted the Crusaders had yet to put together the “complete” performance this year but hinted that the team was steeled for a definitive next three rounds.

“The next three weeks away will determine whether we’re there at the end. The reality is this is the part of the season when you’ve got to be performing if you want to have a shot at the end of May. We’re pretty happy to be where we are, and we’re soon going to be playing two other teams at the top as well. It makes for some fairly interesting footy.”

It does that. But first things first. There is the Force to take care of before thoughts can turn to the South African heavyweights. The match kicks off at 11.45pm (NZ time) on Friday night.

CRUSADERS: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robert Fruean, 12 Ryan Criotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i; 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Kieran Read, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ti’i Paulo, 1 Ben Franks.
Reserves: 16 Daniel Perrin, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Sam Whitelock, 19 George Whitelock, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Daniel Bowden, 22 Colin Slade.



23 Comments

  • Maitland at Fullback and Adam Whitelock on the wing are the selections of interest for me !

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.04.10 09:39:26 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 1) :

    When I read this article this morning I realised just how strong the Crusaders are especially where depth is concerned.

    If they manage to get a home semi they should make the final easy peasy!! :roll:

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.04.10 09:58:22 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 2) : They have a superb pack….and awesome scrum….their backs have just been ok.

    They haven’t displayed the cohesion we have seen from the Stormers (how good were their tries in the weekend).

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.04.10 10:06:17 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • i have always wondered if baldrick and blackadder hang out together

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.04.10 10:18:33 by try time Reply

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  • @try time (Comment 4) : they would get on well :cool:

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.04.10 10:19:41 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 4) :
    :lol:

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.04.10 10:35:04 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • I doubt that Carter was ever injured they probably decided to rest him at a late stage…..they were only playing the Cheetah’s afterall

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.04.10 10:40:23 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 7) : probably doing another jockey advert.

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.04.10 10:48:49 by try time Reply

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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 5) : as long as baldrick gets the odd turnip. :lol:

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.04.10 10:49:30 by try time Reply

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  • @try time (Comment 9) : :lol:

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.04.10 12:40:33 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • Go Force! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.04.10 20:13:09 by McLovin Reply

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  • @McLovin (Comment 11) : No chance…..here come the Crusaders…get ready Republic….season starts now !

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.04.10 20:22:10 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • it’s so impossible but woulod be funny if Force were to take it, like Cheetahs last year – heheeh

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.04.10 20:24:27 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 13) : They actually usually run the Saders close up there i think two years ago it was like 22-23 or something can’t remember who won.

    It won’t be a walk in the park ….but the Saders will get home with 4 Tries……pressure on the rest of the front runners.

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.04.10 20:27:29 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 12) : They are quietly going about their business. All the ra-ra has been about the Bulls and lately the Stormers & Reds. No mention of the Crusaders and they are top of the log. Menacing. :twisted:

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.04.10 20:28:58 by McLovin Reply

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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 14) : Bulls & Crusaders to take 5 this weekend. Loser from Stormers/Reds can pretty much kiss a chance of a home semi goodbye. Even a semi spot could be a win too far. :cry:

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.04.10 20:31:14 by McLovin Reply

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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 14) : that I used to attribute to Giteau factor, which Force is missing this year. Force never won against Crusaders, though out of 4 encounters they drew twice (last year’s 23 all including)

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.04.10 20:33:43 by rekinek Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 15) : It is so Crusaders like…..they are really lacking synergy.

    Their backs don’t look a patch on many other backlines in the comp.

    BUT….their forwards look awesome …their scrum is a huge weapon, they are able to muscle up with the best of them ….i think they will play a really open game against the Force, then play it really tight and up front against the Stormers. It will force the Stormers to tighten up their style.

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.04.10 20:35:17 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 17) : Good call….yeah i knew it was something like that.

    Giteau due a big one ….soon….maybe against the Tahs on Sat. Brumbies forwards are going really well….they make him look good.

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.04.10 20:37:52 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 19) : i think for the Sharks the best result would be 6 all :mrgreen:

    I do not like Tahs, this Paul Waugh irritates me immensely. But Brumbies do not look to convincing to me and Giteau is not impressive. Though mind you neither is Barnes, just show you how much better they looked when compared with other Force players or 2009 Reds.

    Hehe, Wonder whetehr Barnes has regrets.

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.04.10 21:55:51 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 20) : Paul Waugh, what a wally. ;-) :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.04.10 22:02:25 by McLovin Reply

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  • @McLovin (Comment 21) : the most “handsome” player in S14 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.04.10 22:12:38 by rekinek Reply
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  • Well would of thought that Megatron troll would of given his comment but know :mrgreen:

  • Comment 23, posted at 22.04.10 08:16:43 by Chaz Reply

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