All Blacks and Crusaders captain Richie McCaw will start his playing come back this weekend but not in Super Rugby as it had been hoped but through his club side Christchurch.
The 2011 Rugby World Cup winning captain McCaw took a sabbatical from playing rugby in December last year after the All Blacks loss to England in order to give his body a break and hopefully extend his career through to the 2015 World Cup.
McCaw has spent the last six months travelling the world but keeping his fitness levels up. In recent weeks McCaw has been training with the Crusaders and it was hoped that he would feature for the Crusaders last regular season Super Rugby clash this weekend.
Christchurch coach Matt Mustchin said he was expecting a big crowd to see the 32-year-old in his first appearance for the club since 2008.
"It's not only great for us, but all of New Zealand rugby to finally see him back out on the field," Mustchin told Radio Sport.
The 116-Test veteran's return raises the prospect of him playing for the Crusaders in their Super Rugby play off campaign.
However, his priority will be ensuring he is fit to resume the captain's duties for the All Blacks in the opening Rugby Championship fixture against Australia on August 17.
The sabbatical has allowed McCaw to rest niggling injuries, including a troublesome bone in his foot that caused problems throughout the 2011 World Cup.