Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carter tweaks hamstring, McCaw on bench for Crusaders

Marc Hinton April 13, 2011

Dan Carter was originally named in the Crusaders side to face the Chiefs but has tweaked his dodgy hamstring and will miss Friday night's Super Rugby match at Mt Maunganui.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw returns from a stress fracture in his foot for his first action of the season, named on the bench.

That's the upshot of the lineup named by coach Todd Blackadder to tackle the Chiefs, with the in-form seven-time champions sending out a formidable side.

Matt Berquist will likely remain at No 10 with Carter out. Otherwise, there are two changes to the starting XV that humbled the Bulls 27-0 in Timaru last Saturday, Kahn Fotuali'i getting a deserved chance at halfback and standout loosehead Wyatt Crockett dropping to the bench in the weekly prop rotation.

McCaw will see significant second-half time off the bench.

With three such adept props Blackadder has pretty much been rotating them through the two starting positiojns each week and Crockett takes his turn for bench duty after being dubbed by his coach "the best loosehead in the world".

Owen Franks comes back at tighthead prop, with his brother Ben moving across to the loosehead side.

The Crusaders are travelling about as sweetly as you can on the back of a five-game winning streak, but they're preparing for a serious challenge against a desperate Chiefs outfit.

"These derby matches are especially important in this season's competition due to the conference format," said Blackadder. "Traditionally they always carry extra spice and it will be a tough, physical match up there. I was pleased with what we achieved against the Bulls in Timaru last weekend but we still have plenty to work on and I know the guys are looking forward to doing that."

The only frontline Crusader still out with injury is All Black lock Sam Whitelock who's expected to be a few weeks more getting over the ankle problem he picked up in London.

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