NZPA - (15/04/2010)
Captain Richie McCaw is back wearing his favoured No 7 jersey in one of seven changes to the side to face the Cheetahs in Saturday's Rebel Sport Super 14 match at Christchurch.
Five of the changes are to personnel, with coach Todd Blackadder making two switches to the backs and three in the forwards to his second-placed team, who are expected to account for the 13th-placed Cheetahs at AMI Stadium.
All Blacks great McCaw has started the last five games in the No 6 blindside flanker jersey but swaps numbers this week with openside regular George Whitelock.
Rounding out the loose forward mix is No 8 Thomas Waldrom, who has recovered from an ankle sprain and comes in for Kieran Read, who has a shoulder injury.
Also in the pack, Ben Franks starts at tighthead prop ahead of brother Owen while Sam Whitelock succeeds All Black Brad Thorn at lock.
Tim Bateman makes a rare start at centre ahead of Robbie Fruean, who has a family bereavement, while Jared Payne replaces winger Zac Guildford, with Sean Maitland switching from the right to left wing.
Halfback Andy Ellis, who missed the defeat of the Waratahs last week with concussion, is bracketed on the reserves bench with Willi Heinz while first five-eighth Dan Bowden is promoted to the bench for the first time this season.