Monday, March 23, 2009

McCaw's fitness getting better

WALKING WOUNDED: Richie McCaw is not expected to take the field for another month.

Richie McCaw is still probably four weeks away from playing rugby again, but there was definite progress for the All Blacks captain at Crusaders training yesterday.

McCaw was running at training, albeit in straight lines, but it was another step in his recovery from the right-knee medial ligament injury that he suffered in the fourth-round match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

A spokesman said it was unlikely McCaw would start before the first game on the team's three-game tour of South Africa that starts against the Sharks in Durban on April 18.

Kieran Read (hip) and Leon MacDonald (bruised ribs) are expected to be available for selection to play the Stormers at home on Saturday but there is doubt over George Whitelock, who suffered a deep cut from a sprig to a thigh.

All three were injured in Saturday night's narrow win against the Waratahs in Sydney.

Kade Poki and Casey Laulala are expected to be available for the Stormers game after several weeks out with injury, and wing Sean Maitland is making progress from a hamstring injury.

He played 50 minutes in a club friendly at the weekend.

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