All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is set to make his first appearance for the Crusaders this season, from the bench.

The victorious World Cup captain has been named in the reserves for Sunday afternoon's clash against the Waratahs in Sydney after undergoing foot surgery during the off season.

McCaw will play in his first game since the World Cup final against France, however his last Super 15 match was a defeat in a final - going down to the Reds in last year's decider.

Meanwhile Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has made three changes to the starting XV that beat the Hurricanes last weekend.


Luke Romano will partner up with Tom Donnelly at lock, and Samuel Whitelock moves to the reserves.

Ben Franks moves from tighthead to loosehead prop this week and Owen Franks will start at tighthead. Wyatt Crockett will be ready to provide support from the bench. Hooker Ben Funnell may get his first run for the Crusaders this season if he comes off the bench for starting hooker Corey Flynn.

Crusaders team to play the Waratahs:

1. Ben Franks
2. Corey Flynn
3. Owen Franks
4. Tom Donnelly
5. Luke Romano
6. George Whitelock
7. Matt Todd
8. Kieran Read
9. Andy Ellis
10. Tom Taylor
11. Zac Guildford
12. Dan Carter
13. Robbie Fruean
14. Adam Whitelock
15. Israel Dagg

16. Ben Funnell
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Samuel Whitelock
19. Richie McCaw
20. Willi Heinz
21. Ryan Crotty
22. Tom Marshall