McCaw: Crusaders play waiting game

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:20
Large kieran read   richie mccaw

The Crusaders are optimistic about having All Black captain Richie McCaw available for their Super Rugby semifinal showdown with the Sharks.

The Crusaders are optimistic about having All Black captain Richie McCaw available for their Super Rugby semifinal showdown with the Sharks.

However, they will play a waiting game before making a final call on the veteran loose forward's availability for Saturday's Christchurch clash.

McCaw, who was full of energy at the Crusaders training on Monday, has not played since fracturing a rib while captaining the All Blacks against England last month.

Tabai Matson, the Crusaders' assistant coach, told a media briefing at training McCaw needed to emerge unscathed from training over the next two days to confirm his place in the side.

"He missed out on one of the key training sessions last week," Matson said at the side of the pitch, while the players were being taken through their paces in the build-up to the big day.

"We had an internal trial last Friday," he said, adding: "So how he gets through [training] will determine whether he'll be fully available for selection - which we'll be going through tonight [Monday night]."

Asked what the potential issue is that could exclude him from selection, Matson said it is the same issue as the last two league matches.

"We are going into a semifinal and 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 - not kind of building into the game and not building [carrying] an injury.

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

There is also the question of whether McCaw will play openside or blindside - given the fine form Matt Todd has displayed in the All Black captain's absence.

Todd might remain at openside, with McCaw - if he passes his fitness test - set to start on the blindside and Jordan Taufua to play off the replacement bench.

The assistant said the 'body count' at this stage of the season is "really good".

"It is a massive credit to the medical people to only have a couple of people not available at this stage of the season, given the attrition this competition is. To have 95 percent of the team available is really great.''

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4