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McCaw set to start against Sharks at blindside

Richie McCaw is likely to start at blindside flank for the Crusaders

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Article Published: Monday 21 July 2014|

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All Blacks and Crusaders captain Richie McCaw might be physically fine to play against the Sharks in the Super Rugby semi-final but that is no guarantee that he will start.

McCaw injured his ribs playing for the All Blacks against England but has not played for the Crusaders since they returned to Super Rugby after the June break.

The All Black No.7 was one of the first players to sprint out for practice on Monday but assistant coach Tabai Matson says that McCaw needs to emerge unscathed from training over the next two days to be in contention for selection.

"We have learned in the past that it is fine to be available to play, but we need people who are ready to go and be 100 miles an hour and not kind of building into the game," Matson told Stuff.

"It will really be determined by how he feels over the next 24 to 48 hours."

While McCaw is likely to be included in the Crusaders team,  Matt Todd's form is almost certain see him retaining the No.7 jersey with McCaw starting on the blind side and Jordan Taufua on the bench.

The Crusaders have already been awarded the New Zealand Super Rugby conference winners trophy but they know that winning the title for the first time since 2008 is the only thing that will satisfy them and their fans.

The Christchurch side are "really keen" to face the Sharks again as they lost 25-30 to a 14 man Sharks team at home in their last meeting. Even though the Sharks lost Jean Deysel to a red card for stamping on Jordan Taufua's head in the first half they were unable to take control of the match.

"Absolutely we are really keen to have another crack at them," said Willi Heinz who is expected be the back-up halfback for Andy Ellis.

"We were very disappointed with the way we played against them last time. "

"It's never nice losing at home, but that was one we definitely felt we let slip, just by the way we played.

"We are certainly looking forward to making things right on Saturday night."

Heinz also had praise for Dan Carter for his input since he returned to the Crusaders after a six month sabbatical late in June.

"He's a world-class player isn't he? And I think more than anything the confidence he brings to the side is massive," Heinz added.

"He is a cool, calm head out there and I have really enjoyed the way he has brought a real physical edge to that midfield. "

"He leads the line-up and the other boys have got to chase him up there. "

"In the last couple of weeks you have seen the line-speed we have been able to bring up there and that has put other teams under a lot of pressure."

 
 
 
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