McCaw forced to pack at 8

Richie McCaw will start out of position once again as Kieran Read has been ruled out of Saturday’s play-off against the Bulls.

Read was given a 50-50 chance of playing this game, but coach Todd Blackadder has opted to rest the All Blacks No 8 until he is fully fit.

Blackadder will hope that the current back row of George Whitelock, Matt Todd and McCaw can do the job against the Bulls, and that Read will subsequently bolster the side in the semi-finals.

Blackadder has made two changes to the forwards with Wyatt Crockett returning at loosehead prop and Sam Whitelock starting in the second row.

The backline welcomes back Robbie Fruean at No 13, a move which sees Adam Whitelock shifting to the wing.

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