Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCaw adds strength to Canterbury

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been named in the starting line-up for Canterbury in their Air New Zealand Cup rugby semifinal match against Hawke's Bay in Christchurch on Saturday night. McCaw came off the reserves bench to play the final 25 minutes of Canterbury's 48-10 victory over Tasman in last weekend's quarterfinal in Christchurch.

He takes over the number seven jersey from George Whitelock, who has been named in the reserves. Canterbury coach Rob Penney said Whitelock had played fantastically well at openside flanker and his progress throughout the season had been very impressive.

"Richie has got the nod over him for Saturday but George will continue to play an important role on the bench."

The rest of the starting line-up is unchanged from that which took the field against Tasman. There are two changes in the reserves, with hooker Steve Fualau coming in for Ti'i Paulo, whose knee injury suffered against Tasman has ruled him out for the rest of the season. In the other change, loose forward Nasi Manu comes into the squad, replacing James Broadhurst. Manu, who has had ankle and back injuries, last played for Canterbury when coming off the bench against North Harbour in the round six victory at Albany on September 6.

"We are looking for another lift in intensity across the whole squad for this match against Hawke's Bay, Penney said. He said while Canterbury beat Hawke's Bay 31-7 in the round robin match in Christchurch "that counts for very little now."

Canterbury: Scott Hamilton, Paul Williams, Casey Laulala, Tim Bateman, James Paterson, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Hayden Hopgood, Isaac Ross, Michael Paterson, Greg Somerville, Corey Flynn.
Reserves: Steve Fualau, Owen Franks, Nasi Manu, George Whitelock, Tyson Keats, Hamish Gard, Adam Whitelock

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