Game of the Week - Sharks v Crusaders
April 16, 2009
Richie McCaw is back to lead the Crusaders against the Sharls on Saturday © Getty Images
Our featured game of Round 10 of the Super 14 happens to be the final game of the round. On Saturday at the Kings Park Stadium, Durban, the Sharks play host to the Crusaders.
Richie McCaw is back to lead the Crusaders after missing a large chunk of the campaign with a knee injury. The All Blacks captain McCaw, who has not played for more than a month since suffering a medial ligament strain against the Highlanders, makes a timely return as his replacement during his absence, George Whitelock, is heading home from the side's tour South Africa for treatment on a knee injury.
Andy Ellis returns after missing the last two weeks with a rib inury, so Kahn Fotuali'I drops down to the bench. Tim Bateman replaces Casey Laulala who broke his arm in the 16-13 win over the Bulls two weeks ago with Ryan Crotty being promoted off the bench into the no 12 shirt. Prop Wyatt Crockett will earn his 50th cap for the Crusaders. Crockett, 26, made his Super 14 debut for the Crusaders against the Highlanders in 2006. Todd Blackadder's side are currently in eighth and they take on a Sharks outfit that sit top of the log but were on the end of a resounding 31-6 defeat by the Cheetahs last week.
John Plumtree's Sharks side have been boosted by the return to fitness of a number of players. Waylon Murray, JP Pietersen and Jean Deysel who have had medium to long term injuries, as well as Steven Sykes, Bismarck du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira are all back in the squad to face the tournaments most successful team.
Deysel starts on the bench and JP Pietersen and Waylon Murray have been bracketed in on the wing. Should Pietersen start, Murray will wear the no. 22 jersey ahead of Luzuko Vulindlu. The only other changes are in the tight five where Steven Sykes reclaims his starting jersey after a bout of flu and Bismarck du Plessis starts at hooker, which means that Springbok captain John Smit is on the bench.
Sharks: Terblanche; Ndungane, Jacobs, Swanepoel, Pietersen/ Murray, Francois Steyn, Kockott; Carstens, . du Plessis, J. du Plessis, Sykes, Muller (captain), Botes, Daniel, Kankowski
Replacements: Smit, Mtawarira, van den Berg, Deysel, McLeod, Dumond, Vulindlu/Murray
Crusaders: MacDonald; Payne, Bateman, Crotty, Slade, Brett, Ellis; Crockett, J. MacDonald, Murray, Thorn, Ross, Read, McCaw (captain), Waldrom.
Replacements: Perrin, Franks, Filipo, Paterson, Fotuali'i, Whitelock, Poki