Richie McCaw will play no part in the Crusaders' conference-deciding match against the Highlanders on Saturday.
The All Blacks captain has missed the Saders' last two Super Rugby matches after featuring in New Zealand's third Test victory against England despite suffering from a fractured rib. Matt Todd will once again take his place on the side of the scrum for the final regular season fixture in Christchurch.
If the second-placed Crusaders manage to beat the Highlanders, they are likely to finish behind only the Waratahs and will secure a home semi-final. Should that happen, they'll earn a bye ahead of the semi-final, giving McCaw an extra week to recover.
Meanwhile, lock Sam Whitelock is progressing well and should overcome the calf strain that kept him out of the win over the Blues. Colin Slade is another who's likely to feature despite still feeling from the after-effects of being run over by Ma'a Nonu. He is expected to start at flyhalf once again with All Black Dan Carter outside of him.
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