• McCaw the man for Saders

    Richie McCaw will make his return to Super Rugby for the Crusaders' clash against the Brumbies in Christchurch on Saturday.

    One of the most decorated players in the history of the game, McCaw missed the early part of the season through injury.

    Having taken a sabbatical for much of the Super Rugby campaign last season, the Crusaders will be hoping to get the best out of the openside flank as they push for a play-off spot. A victory over last season's finalists is a good place to start.

    They did get the better of the Brumbies last season, though, with Dan Carter inspiring his side to a 30-23 victory in a smashing game. Their record against Saturday's opponents is rather impressive, and you'll have to go all the way back to 2000 for the last Brumbies victory in Christchurch. The Crusaders have won their last three against the Brumbies, averaging over 40 points per game.

    In team news, Kieran Read will miss out due to a concussion, with Luke Whitelock taking over his role at the back of the scrum. Ryan Crotty will assume the captaincy with Kieron Fonotia returning to form a new centre pairing. Ben Funnell (hooker) and Andy Ellis (scrumhalf) also get starts.

    Meanwhile, the Brumbies have named an unchanged side as they look to build on last week's convincing victory over the Chiefs.

    HEAD TO HEAD
    Overall: Crusaders 12, Brumbies 8
    In Christchurch: Crusaders 8, Brumbies 2

    McCAW'S STATS THAT MATTER
    121 – The number of All Blacks Test caps he has
    124 – The number of Super Rugby caps he has for the Crusaders
    3 – The number of times he has won the IRB Player of the Year award

    Crusaders – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty (c), 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
    Subs: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

    Brumbies – 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
    Subs: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ruaidhri Murphy, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Pat McCabe.

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    Photo: Martin Hunter/Photosport

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