Mon, 20 Jun 2011 7:21p.m.
By David Di Somma
A blow for the Crusaders who had hoped to have All Black captain Richie McCaw back for their sudden death clash with the Sharks.
But his foot injury is not right and he will not be in the 22 for Saturday night's game in Nelson.
As driving rain made conditions unpleasant in Christchurch, McCaw was going through his paces under the watchful eye of All Black physio Pete Gallagher.
He hasn't played since the loss to the Reds in late May because of on-going complications from surgery to his right foot.
This was meant to be the week he would return to action and while he appears to be running without discomfort, coach Todd Blackadder confirmed McCaw is not a contender for Saturday’s sudden death play-off match against the Sharks in Nelson.
“He won't be ready for this weekend but he will be right for the following week which is good news if we get past this week,” says Blackadder.
He says McCaw needs to get a week’s training behind him before he can play.
The prognosis looks rosier for star midfielder Sonny Bill Williams.
He is making good progress after bruising his hip against the Blues in Timaru.
Also about to return is wing Sean Maitland and that will have the Sharks worried, he scored twice in the 44-28 win when the sides last met at Twickenham.
This weekend will be a homecoming of sorts for fullback Tom Marshall.
On Saturday one of the highlights of the win over the Hurricanes was his tackle on Aaron Cruden.
“It was a 50/50 - whether he'd pass or hold on to it - so I shut him down and it worked out for me but not for him,” says Marshall.
Now the 21-year-old who plays his provincial rugby for Tasman will run out onto Trafalgar Park for the biggest match of his career.