McCaw returns for Saders

Richie McCaw will make his first start of the 2015 season, although he won't lead the Crusaders against the Rebels in Christchurch on Friday.

Matt Todd will retain the captaincy for last year's runners-up, despite the Crusaders going through pre-season without a win. McCaw's inclusion is one of three changes to the side that went down to the Reds in their final warm-up match.

The other changes come in the front row, where Joe Moody will start at loosehead, while Ben Funnell comes in at hooker.

Dan Carter will get another shot at flyhalf despite struggling to impose himself against the Reds last week, with Colin Slade resuming his role at fullback.

All Blacks Wyatt Crockett and Ryan Crotty also return to the mix for the first time, but will start Friday's match on the bench.

Crusaders – 15 Colin Slade, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Wyatt Crockett, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Nathaniel Apa.

Photo: Martin Hunter/Getty Images