Rugby: McCaw named on bench

Richie McCaw played club rugby last weekend. Photo / Getty Images
Richie McCaw played club rugby last weekend. Photo / Getty Images

The Crusaders have been bolstered by the return of All Blacks Luke Romano and Richie McCaw for their play-off against the Reds in Christchurch on Saturday.

Lock Romano returns from an ankle injury which ruled him out of the victory over the Hurricanes last weekend, with McCaw returning from a sabbatical.

Romano comes in for Tom Donnelly, with Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder selecting two loose forwards on the bench - McCaw and Luke Whitelock.

Adam Whitelock comes on to the bench, with Telusa Veainu missing out. The selection of Adam Whitelock, who can play in the midfield, is perhaps a nod to Tom Taylor's recent head injury. Second-five Taylor left the field against the Hurricanes following a heavy knock but has been passed fit to play.

Blackadder said the home ground advantage would be an important factor against the Reds, the 2011 champions. ``This season we remain unbeaten at home and this is largely due to the enthusiastic and boisterous red and black support we receive every time we play at AMI Stadium,'' he said.

It will be flanker Matt Todd's 50th match for the Crusaders.

The Reds have not beaten the Crusaders in Christchurch since 1999.

Crusaders team to play the Reds at AMI Stadium on Saturday, kick-off 7.35pm is: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Luke Whitelock, Richie McCaw, Willi Heinz, Tyler Bleyendaal, Adam Whitelock.

- APNZ

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