ESPN SCRUM

/ Super Rugby 2014

/ News

Super Rugby
McCaw to sit out Crusaders' opener
February 10, 2014
Blackadder will slowly ease McCaw back into the season, sitting him out of the Crusaders' opening match © Getty Images
Enlarge

Flanker Richie McCaw could yet join fellow-All Blacks loose forward Kieran Read on the sideline for the Crusaders' opening Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Christchurch.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder confirmed on Monday that Crusaders captain and standout Test No.8 Read will miss the game on February 21, as has always been the plan. However, Test great and New Zealand captain McCaw could also be eased slowly into the season, with Blackadder considering playing Matt Todd on the openside flank against the defending champions.

McCaw, 33, returns to the field in the Crusaders' final pre-season match against the Hurricanes in Levin on Friday. However, Blackadder says early-season form will dictate his selection. Todd, has already impressed in the team's opening trials and practices.

"It's not just about getting guys back and integrating them and letting them get slowly up to speed," Blackadder said. "It's about who's ready to go at the start and that may mean that Matt Todd is more physically ready to go and up to speed in his skill executions than Richie McCaw. That's not to say Richie is not a great player but horses for courses."

Todd, 25, made his All Blacks debut last year with Test appearances off the reserve bench before a chest muscle injury in September ended his season. Even if Todd gets the nod for the No.7 jersey against the Chiefs, McCaw could still be considered at No.8 in place of Read, voted world and New Zealand Player of the Year in 2013.

Other loose forward options include the Whitelock brothers, George and Luke, who have both played one Test. Blackadder says Read will be available for the Crusaders' round two game against the Blues in Auckland.

"That's a far better plan than the original one where he wasn't going to be available for the first three weeks."

© AAP

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Formula 1

    Who said what after Friday practice

    ESPN rounds up all the reaction from up and down the paddock after Friday practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix

  • Formula 1

    Renault considering F1 exit

    Renault is considering its F1 future with options varying from a takeover of Toro Rosso to leaving the sport entirely

  • Football

    Scholes: Gareth Bale could make Man Utd title contenders

    Paul Scholes believes Gareth Bale would be a "perfect" signing for Manchester United and would propel them into the status of title contenders

  • Football

    Eden Hazard brands Chelsea's Champions League exit 'blessing in disguise'

    Eden Hazard has told L'Equipe that Chelsea's Champions League elimination could be a "blessing in disguise" as they look to close in on the Premier League title

  • Football

    Suarez treated 'worse than a hooligan' after World Cup bite

    Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has said he was treated "worse than if I were a hooligan" when FIFA banned him for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup

  • Rugby

    Unsavoury sledging did not end with Potgieter

    Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports

  • Rugby

    Super Rugby preview, team news, line-ups: Round 7

    Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks

  • Formula 1

    Storm clouds gather in Malaysia

    Will Mercedes dominate again? Can anybody catch up with the help of a rainstorm? And will the Red Bull/Renault relationship tear itself apart? All those questions and more will be answered at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix

  • Formula 1

    Alonso: More questions than answers

    Maurice Hamilton pieces together what we know from the Fernando Alonso crash and explains why the latest answers raise more questions

  • Rugby

    Attacking revolution won't be repeated at World Cup

    John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year

  • News
  • Features
  • Inside Boxing

    'I've sparred with Klitschko and Fury - now I want Joshua'

    Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November

  • UFC

    Top 10 best UFC fighters of all time

    Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner

  • Ask Steven

    Home front

    Who was the first Briton to win the British Grand Prix?

  • Ask Steven

    Pointless drivers

    Where does Anthony Davidson's record of 24 Grands Prix without a point rank him?

  • Ask Steven

    Home favourites

    How many F1 drivers have had one win, but done it at their home Grand Prix?

Sponsored Links

Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income