Friday, April 24, 2009

McCaw wary of Cheetahs' claws

Captain Richie McCaw says the Crusaders are focused only on the Cheetahs match this Sunday morning (NZ time) rather than thinking about any top-four aspirations.

McCaw said there was no complacency in the Crusaders camp, rather a desire to get the job done at Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein.

While the Cheetahs are currently on the bottom on the table, they aren’t scared of running the ball. Their attacking threat was proven two weeks ago when they downed the Sharks, who were then leading the competition.

"We're still definitely in the hunt, but one slip-up and we’ll be in a totally different situation,” McCaw said.

"Pretty much every team's in that situation now. It's an old cliche but we haven't thought too much further ahead. We've got to do the business Saturday, get that right, and it's nice with four rounds to go that we don't have to rely on others, but just do our thing.

"We still got a bit of improving to do, and if we can do that we've got a chance to keep on winning."

McCaw turned in a man of the match performance in the Crusaders gritty 13-10 victory against the Sharks in Durban last weekend despite not playing for five weeks.

“The lungs were certainly feeling it towards the end of the match. Hopefully on Saturday I can improve things a little.”

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has shuffled his deck for this match in an effort to share the workload.

Owen Franks comes in at tighthead prop for Bronson Murray, Michael Paterson at blindside flanker for Kieran Read (who has started every game this season), Ross Filipo for Isaac Ross and Kahn Fotuali’i for Andy Ellis. Jared Payne moves from right wing to fullback, replacing Leon MacDonald, with Kade Poki, playing his first game since spraining an ankle against the Hurricanes on February 27, coming on to the wing.

All replaced players are on the reserves bench.

The Crusaders fly to Bloemfontein, which is at altitude, from their Cape Town base on Friday afternoon (SA time).

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