Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has included All Black captain Richie McCaw in his starting line-up to face this Sharks in Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final, in the unfamiliar position of blind side flank.
McCaw has been unavailable through injury and it’s rather telling that Blackadder doesn’t feel he’s in good enough nick to replace Matt Todd in the number 7 jersey that has been his regular position for years now. Jordan Taufua – he of the infamous Jean Deysel foot holding incident – drops to the bench, from where he and the big Shark will be able to glare daggers at each other before both being introduced into the game later on.
Dan Carter will also play in an unfamiliar position this week, as he continues at inside centre. Colin Slade has been preferred at pivot.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNicholl.