Rugby: McCaw, Flynn to start for Crusaders

The Crusaders have been bolstered by the return of Richie McCaw for their semifinal against the Sharks on Saturday, with hooker Corey Flynn also recalled to the starting XV to celebrate his 150th match for the franchise.

As expected, McCaw will start on the blindside flank ahead of Jordan Taufua for Saturday night's clash in Christchurch. In the only other change to the starting XV which beat the Highlanders a fortnight ago, Flynn replaces Ben Funnell in the No2 jersey.

It is a fitting reward for Flynn, who will depart at the end of the season. His milestone is all the more impressive considering the number of injuries, especially broken arms, he has succumbed to since his debut in 2002.

His experience will be a big asset against a Sharks front row featuring Springbok brothers Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis.

McCaw, back from a broken rib suffered in the June test series against England, will also provide a boost with his experience.

The plan will be for Taufua, an impressive performer this season, to provide impetus from the reserves bench in the second half.

"The Sharks have shown this season that they are an extremely classy outfit and a very difficult team to beat. This is our biggest challenge yet, but we feel ready for it," coach Todd Blackadder said.

The Waratahs host the Brumbies in Sydney on Saturday night in the other semifinal.

Crusaders team to play the Sharks at AMI Stadium on Saturday, kick-off 7.35pm is: Israel Dagg, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Dan Carter, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Richie McCaw, Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Jimmy Taufua, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl.

- APNZ

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