Thursday, April 15, 2010

McCaw back at No.7 in reshuffled Crusaders
April 15, 2010

Crusaders captain Richie McCaw returns to the No 7 jersey for the first time this season in Saturday night's match against the Cheetahs in Christchurch.

McCaw sat out the first two rounds and wore the number 19 jersey (when coming off the bench in round three against the Sharks) before appearing at blindside flanker in the next five matches.

George Whitelock has been the preferred openside until now and he will wear the No 6 jersey against the Cheetahs.

Thomas Waldrom has recovered from a minor ankle sprain suffered in last week's match against the Waratahs and will play at No8.

Halfback Andy Ellis, who missed the Waratahs match with concussion, is bracketed on the reserves bench with Willi Heinz.

Coach Todd Blackadder has seen this as an opportunity to shuffle his side against one of the championship stragglers before the Crusaders head west for a demanding road trip that features matches against the Western Force, Stormers and Bulls before a last round clash with the Brumbies in Christchurch.

In other changes to last week's line-up, Ben Franks starts at tighthead prop instead of brother Owen, Chris Jack and Sam Whitelock lock the scrum and Tim Bateman comes in at centre instead of Robbie Fruean, who is unavailable due to a family bereavement.

Sean Maitland swaps to the left wing, with Jared Payne on the right wing.

Zac Guildford, who has started at left wing in all eight games this season, is on the reserves bench.

First-five Dan Bowden, who is on the reserves bench, is in the match-day squad for the first time this season.

With Kieran Read unavailable due to a shoulder injury, Jonathan Poff comes on to the reserves bench as loose forward cover.

Midfielder Adam Whitelock has an ankle sprain and is unavailable for selection.

Crusaders: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Jared Payne, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Reserves: 16 Daniel Perrin, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Brad Thorn, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Andy Ellis/Willi Heinz, 21 Daniel Bowden, 22 Zac Guildford.

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