Monday, April 23, 2012

McCaw likely for bench as Crusaders are too hot James Mortimer - (24/04/2012)

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has said his team is “running hot” and is hence unlikely to change a winning formula against the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium.

The Crusaders have won their last two matches, and four from five (their two-point loss to the Bulls their only recent blip), and the chance of the World Cup winning All Blacks captain being rushed into the starting side are slim.

Especially when the Crusaders appear to be entering their traditional upward gear shift towards the Super Rugby Final's Series.

The seven-time champions have begun to hum, and Matt Todd has played well for the second straight season in the absence of the 110-Super Rugby capped flanker.

McCaw, who hasn’t played since guiding the All Blacks to a 8-7 win over France in the Rugby World Cup Final in October, has stressed in recent times that he will not rush his comeback.

Blackadder, who is all too aware of what McCaw went through last season, has said that his usual captain will only be ready when all parties agree.

If he doesn’t make his return against the Waratahs, the side that the Crusaders defeated in the 2005 and 2008 deciders, it will be against the Reds – with the Queenslanders defeating McCaw and his troops last season at Suncorp Stadium.

McCaw had surgery after the World Cup to remove the much talked about titanium screw from his foot, and recently had a final operation to remove two small screws that were inserted to essentially complete the healing process.

With the likes of stand in captain Kieran Read playing a full season so far, there may be temptation to rest some of the regulars – including the likes of Sam Whitelock and Corey Flynn – in the coming weeks.

However the hooker will now be deputised by Ben Funnell, and it was confirmed that Quentin MacDonald will miss the coming rounds due to a shoulder injury.

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