Rugby: McCaw, Carter back for Crusaders

Richie McCaw. Photo / Getty Images
Richie McCaw. Photo / Getty Images

The Crusaders have welcomed back captain Richie McCaw and first-five Dan Carter for their Super 15 match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning.

McCaw missed last week's victory over the Stormers in Cape Town after a head knock against the Force and returns to openside flanker.

Carter has not played since injuring his hamstring in the match against the Sharks at Twickenham on March 27.

SUPER 15 FIXTURES

Also back from injury is Ben Franks (lower back), who left the field against the Force and wasn't available for last week's Stormers match. Franks will start at loosehead prop, with Wyatt Crockett moving to the reserves bench.

Willi Heinz starts at halfback, replacing Kahn Fotuali'i (knee) and Tom Marshall starts at fullback, replacing Israel Dagg (thigh).

Ryan Crotty will start at centre outside Sonny Bill Williams, with Robbie Fruean moving to the right wing following Sean Maitland's foot injury last weekend. It will be Crotty's first inclusion in the match-day squad this season.

Auckland ITM Cup fullback Brent Ward, who was called into the squad this week, is on the reserves bench, as is halfback Steve Alfeld, a Crusaders wider training group member.

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said: "We have managed all the players carefully this week due to the tough nature of last week's match, but we expect everyone to be ready for this tough challenge against the Cheetahs. Our new squad members have slotted in well and we know they will do the job for us."

Crotty, Alfeld, Ward and Crusaders wider training group member Tom Taylor joined the squad this week after the injured Dagg, Maitland, Fotuali'I and Adam Whitelock returned home to Christchurch.

Not considered due to injury were Israel Dagg (thigh), Sean Maitland (foot), Kahn Fotuali'I (knee), Adam Whitelock (chest muscle), Andy Ellis (thumb), Brad Thorn (calf) and Sam Whitelock (ankle).

Crusaders:
1. Ben Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Chris Jack, 6. George Whitelock, 7. Richie McCaw (c), 8. Kieran Read, 9. Willi Heinz, 10. Dan Carter, 11. Zac Guildford, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Ryan Crotty, 14. Robbie Fruean, 15. Tom Marshall,

Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett, Joe Wheeler, Matt Todd, Steve Alfeld, Matt Berquist, Brent Ward.

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