Super Rugby Semi-Final - Chiefs v Crusaders
Richie McCaw will be on bench again
July 22, 2013
Richie McCaw won't walk back into the starting XV © Getty Images
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder will not promote Richie McCaw into his starting side to face the Chiefs in the Super Rugby semi-final at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday night, saying "it would be unfair to pitch the flanker straight into such an important match when he has only played 15 minutes of Super Rugby and a club game".
Blackadder, instead, will maintain the back-row combination that performed so strongly through the Super Rugby season during McCaw's sabbatical, saying George Whitelock, Kieran Read and Matt Todd, whom McCaw replaced for the final 15 minutes in the Super Rugby qualifier against Queensland Reds at AMI Stadium, "have played outstandingly well and by doing that we are putting the team first".
"And if you were to ask Richie he would say exactly the same," Blackadder told Fairfax Media in New Zealand.
"He's only just getting his game-time and minutes up, and it would be a huge step to go into a game like this. Richie's an outstanding player but it just wouldn't be right. That's no disrespect to anyone but it is just the right thing to do.''
Blackadder, meanwhile, told Fairfax Media "there were only reports of bumps and bruises, so we are in pretty good shape" after defeating the Reds.
"The semi won't change in our preparations this week. We have settled in our routines and it's about making sure we are mentally fresh - not getting anxious and trusting our systems.''
Super Rugby semi-finals
1-Chiefs v 4-Crusaders, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
2-Bulls v 3-Brumbies, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Super Rugby final
Winner of the two semi-finals, with the highest-ranked team to host the match
The Crusaders defeated the Reds in some style (video available only in Australia)
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand