Keo.co.za brings you the latest from New Zealand’s Super 14 franchises.
McCaw cleared for Canes clash
Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw will face the Hurricanes after passing a fitness test on Wednesday.
The All Blacks opensider missed last week’s clash with a head knock but has recovered sufficiently to play this Friday’s game in Christchurch. Brad Thorn is also back from a heel injury and will partner Ross Filipo in the second row.
Scrumhalf Andy Ellis, however, has failed to overcome an ankle injury and will not be available.
Crusaders - Stephen Brett, Jared Payne, Casey Laulala, Tim Bateman, Kade Poki, Colin Slade, Kahn Fotuali’i, Thomas Waldrom, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Ross Filipo, Brad Thorn, Ben Franks, Jason Macdonald, Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: Daniel Perrin, Bronson Murray, Isaac Ross, George Whitelock, Tyson Keats, Ryan Crotty, Adam Whitelock.
Rodney returns to Canes
Rodney So’oialo is back after a one-week ban and will captain the Hurricanes when they travel to Christchurch.
So’oialo replaces Victor Vito at No 8 with the youngster dropping out of the squad to join the New Zealand Sevens team ahead of next month’s World Cup.
Tim Fairbrother is in at prop while Karl Lowe replaces Faifili Levave at flank. Piri Weepu displaces Daniel Kirkpatrick at flyhalf with Alby Mathewson starting at No 9. Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith also return in midfield. Zac Guildford is the final change with winger David Smith being rested for this clash.
Hurricanes – 15 Cory Jane, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Piri Weepu, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Rodney So’oialo, 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Karl Lowe, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 John Schwalger.
Subs: 16 Jacob Ellison, 17 Neemia Tialata, 18 Bryn Evans, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 21 Tamati Ellison, 22 David Smith.
Highlanders continue without Cowan
All Blacks Jimmy Cowan and Jamie Mackintosh remain sidelined as the Highlanders head to Sydney desperate for a win.
Cowan (elbow) and Mackintosh (neck) have been ruled out of the Waratahs clash. The only change to the team that lost to the Hurricanes sees Fetu’u Vainikolo back on the wing after serving a one-match suspension.
Highlanders – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jason Shoemark (c), 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10 Daniel Bowden, 9 Sean Romans, 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Clint Newland, 2 David Hall, 1 Chris King.
Subs: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 George Naoupu, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Scott Cowan, 21 Mathew Berquist, 22 Kendrick Lynn.
‘Disorderly’ Coles cops ban
Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles has been suspended for a match after being found guilty of disorderly behaviour.
The New Zealand Rugby Union have also issued the player a formal warning, fined him NZ$1000 and forced him to undergo an alcohol and behaviour management course.
Coles will miss the Canes’ match against the Crusaders this Friday.
This thread will be updated throughout the day.