Richie McCaw makes a return to the Crusaders team for Friday night’s clash against the Sharks at AMI Stadium.
McCaw, the All Blacks and Crusaders captain, missed the first two rounds of the Rebel Sport Super 14 due to the punishing workload he has had recently. Rather than exercising a sabbatical clause in his contract, he elected to have a proper pre-season build-up and ease his way into 2010.
He has been named on the reserves bench but Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder confirmed McCaw will get a good run on Friday night.
Other changes to the Crusaders team which lost to the Reds last weekend include Wyatt Crockett starting at prop, Ryan Crotty coming in for Tim Bateman at second-five, Jared Payne moving to fullback from the right wing and Sean Maitland starting on the right wing.
All Blacks prop Crockett played against the Reds off the bench after returning to the squad from an ankle injury suffered in pre-season.
Crotty is back at second-five after recovering from a head knock in pre-season.
Payne replaces Colin Slade, who drops to the bench. It will be Maitland’s first start of the season.
1. Tendai Mtawrira 2. Bismarck du Plessis 3. John Smit 4. Steven Sykes 5. Johann Muller 6. Jacques Botes 7. Willem Alberts 8. Ryan Kankowski
9. Rory Kockett 10. Ruan Pienaar
11. JP Pietersen 12. Adrian Jacobs 13. Waylon Murray 14. Odwa Ndungane 15. Stefan Terblanche
16. Deon Carstens 17. Jannie du Plessis 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp 19. Jean Deysel 20. Keegan Daniel 21. Andrew Goode 22. Riaan Swanepoel
Referee: Chris Pollock
The Crusaders team to play the Sharks in a Rebel Sport Super 14 match at AMI Stadium on Friday, kick-off 7.35pm, is:
1. Wyatt Crockett 2. Ti'i Paulo 3. Ben Franks 4. Sam Whitelock 5. Brad Thorn 6. Kieran Read (c) 7. George Whitelock 8. Thomas Waldrom
9. Andy Ellis 10. Dan Carter
11. Zac Guildford 12. Ryan Crotty 13. Robbie Fruean 14. Sean Maitland 15. Jared Payne
Reserves: 16. Quentin MacDonald 17. Owen Franks 18. Joe Wheeler 19. Richie McCaw 20. Kahn Fotuali'i 21. Adam Whitelock 22. Colin Slade