McCaw makes long-awaited comeback

Richie McCaw will play off the bench against the Hurricanes after a lengthy battle with a foot injury.

McCaw hasn’t played since the World Cup final in October 2011. He nursed a broken foot throughout the tournament but hopes that the extended break has allowed it to recover fully. There were fears that it was so severe that he would be forced into premature retirement. However, McCaw assured the media that those fears were unfounded.

In other changes for the Wellington clash, the Franks brothers, Ben and Owen, start at loosehead and tighthead prop respectively, while Luke Romano comes into the second row in place of Sam Whitelock.

Dan Carter continues his stint in midfield.

Crusaders - 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Dan Carter, Zac 11 Guildford, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Luke Romano, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks
Subs: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Richie McCaw, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Tom Marshall