What is McCaw's number?

Wed, 29 Jan 2014 13:39
Large richie mccaw crusaders

All Black captain Richie McCaw may be moved around by the Crusaders this season, according to coach Todd Blackadder.

All Black captain Richie McCaw may be moved around by the Crusaders this season, according to coach Todd Blackadder.

It appears Matt Todd is the preferred choice at No.7 for the Crusaders and when he returns from a chest injury next month, McCaw may well be wearing another number on his back.

Todd was initially not expected to be available until around late March and McCaw was tipped to be an automatic starter at openside flank for the Crusaders' opener, against the Chiefs on February 21.

However, the Crusaders coach, Blackadder, told Fairfax NZ News Todd has made such a quick recovery from the pectoral muscle he tore last September that he could start in the first pre-season game against the Highlanders in Motueka on February 7.

Todd is now a real chance to play the defending Super Rugby champions in Christchurch.

This means Blackadder must consider whether he should switch McCaw, one of New Zealand's greatest players who has amassed 124 Test caps, to No.6 to accommodate a player who has made just two Test appearances.

McCaw, who last season made only two brief Super Rugby appearances as a replacement and hasn't started at openside flank for the Crusaders since July 2012, made it clear what position he preferred.

"Probably No.7," McCaw, 33, said when asked where he wanted to start.

"But with Matt Todd coming back with injury ... Hopefully I will be playing No.7, but if there other reasons to play elsewhere then I will do that."

In the past, when there had been debate about whether McCaw should be shifted to another loose forward position, All Blacks Steve Hansen cut the discussions short by stating McCaw's best spot is at openside.

It seems logical that Hansen would prefer McCaw to operate at No.7 for the Crusaders ahead of the June series against England.

"To be honest that is my best position," McCaw said.

"If I can play there, that is where I intend to play. And I think Toddy realises that. But if someone is injured and there is a need [to change] then Matt goes pretty well there too."

McCaw only returned to training this week, but Blackadder, who is desperate to make a fast start this season, expects him to be available for the Chiefs match.

Blackadder maintained he was keeping an open mind about his back row selections.

"I will look at all options. I see Richie has being a No.6 as well."

Source: Fairfax NZ News

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