Richie McCaw returns for Crusaders to play Reds in Super Rugby Qualifier

The 2013 Investec Super Rugby Qualifiers have arrived and six teams are now vying for the coveted championship title. This Saturday 20th July see’s Super Rugby’s seven time champions the Crusaders take on Queensland’s Reds at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Kick-off is at 19.35 NZT

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team to play the Reds making only one change to the starting fifteen that beat the Hurricanes 25-17 last weekend. Lock Luke Romano returns from an ankle injury to reform locking partnership team mate Sam Whitelock.

Meanwhile the bench see’s the much awaited return of Crusader and All Black Richie McCaw. McCaw returns from a six month sabbatical. The game will mark his first Super Rugby match for the 2013 season following an eighty minute club rugby game last weekend.

The Super Rugby Qualifier will also mark a special occasion for fellow flanker Matt Todd. When he pulls on the number 7 jersey and runs out on Saturday night he will be playing his 50th Super Rugby match for the Crusaders.

This is knock out rugby and with both sides vying to secure themselves a place in the semi-finals it will be an intense, physical and passionate battle. The two sides have previously met on nineteen occasions with the Crusaders coming out the victors winning 68% of the battles. The Reds have not won on Crusader turf since 1999.

However in recent years the two sides have developed some fierce rivalry and with player match ups such as first-fives Carter vs Cooper on the cards it is bound to be just that. Add to the dynamic thirteen All Blacks (9 present and 4 former) in the Crusaders side facing a Reds team with fourteen Wallabies (6 present and 8 former) and the game is set to be a test match of Super Rugby proportions.

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder encourages fans to come out in support of the team on Saturday night. “This season we remain unbeaten at home and this is largely due to the enthusiastic and boisterous red and black support we receive every time we play at AMI Stadium. With this weekend’s game being the last time the Crusaders will play at home during 2013 we encourage fans to don the red & black once more and help us to show the Reds what it is like to play knock out footy at our fortress.”

Crusaders team to play the Reds:

1. Wyatt Crockett 9. Andy Ellis Reserves
2. Corey Flynn 10. Dan Carter 16. Ben Funnell
3. Owen Franks 11. Zac Guildford 17. Joe Moody
4. Luke Romano 12. Tom Taylor 18. Luke Whitelock
5. Sam Whitelock 13. Ryan Crotty 19. Richie McCaw
6. George Whitelock 14. Tom Marshall 20. Willi Heinz
7. Matt Todd 15. Israel Dagg 21. Tyler Bleyendaal
8. Kieran Read (c) 22. Adam Whitelock

About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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