Friday, April 22, 2011

Injury rules out McCaw

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw's comeback to Super 15 rugby action has been shortlived.

The Crusaders flanker had been sidelined for 3-1/2 months after breaking his foot before appearing in the team's win over the Chiefs last weekend.

He saw action for 29 minutes as his return was carefully managed but plans to build on that brief appearance have now been stalled by a bruised foot.

He has been ruled out of the southern derby against the Highlanders in Nelson on Saturday night, scuppering plans to have him in a starting position.

McCaw trained on Monday and suffered soreness in his right foot overnight. It is the same foot in which a screw was inserted following his stress fracture in the pre-season, but scans have ruled out any new bone damage.

''The right thing to do is to rest Richie at this stage,'' Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said today.
''It's not a serious problem. A week away from playing will do him good and we'll monitor him next week.''

Blackadder has made a number of personnel changes for the match in nelson, with Wyatt Crockett replacing Ben Franks at loosehead prop and Quentin MacDonald coming in for hooker Corey Flynn.

Tasman's Joe Wheeler is to get his first game time of the season following a shoulder reconstruction last year and he will start at No 8 in place of Kieran Read.

Andy Ellis has been named to captain the team at halfback, replacing Kahn Fotuali'i, while first five-eighth Matt Berquist retains his spot ahead of Dan Carter, who is still recovering from a hamstring problem.

Adam Whitelock replaces Sonny Bill Williams at second five-eighth and Tom Marshall comes on the right wing ahead of Sean Maitland.

''The guys being rested have had a tough workload already this season and we have a lot of faith in the players coming in,'' Blackadder said.

Read, who had captained the team in every game this season, has been left out of the match-day 22 due to his workload.


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