'Exceptional' McCaw good to go

Sat, 15 Feb 2014 09:37
Large crusaders dancers Large todd blackadder   richie mc

Fears that All Black captain Richie McCaw could be underdone at the start of the Crusaders' Super Rugby campaign were well and truly dispelled.

Fears that All Black captain Richie McCaw could be underdone at the start of the Crusaders' Super Rugby campaign were well and truly dispelled.

McCaw looks every bit like a man ready to hit the Super Rugby season at full tilt, after helping the Crusaders to a 40-15 pre-season win over the Hurricanes in Levin.

Coach Todd Blackadder was clearly pleased to see his skipper in such fine fettle, but wasn't giving much away in the selection stakes.

"I thought he [McCaw] had an exceptional 40 [minutes]," Blackadder told the New Zealand media.

"So did Matt Todd and George, but if you look at Richie I thought he played a really smart game.

"He didn't try to do too much, he just worked into the game and looked like he enjoyed himself.

"We'll have a selection meeting before we decide [if and where he'll play].

"We have to review this and make sure we get it right," the coach said of the team that will face the two-time defending champion Chiefs in Christchurch next Friday, February 21.

The Crusaders did, eventually show their championship potential; in the dress rehearsal in Lervin, but not until Blackadder injected McCaw, lock Sam Whitelock and halfback Andy Ellis after a lack lustre first half.

"It was a disappointing start to the game," the coach said.

"We didn't respect the ball enough, we turned the all over a lot and our line speed we didn't get any physicality or get off our heels," he said.

"We addressed a couple of things at half-time and the guys really responded.

"These games aren't easy and the Hurricanes played very well early. We probably got sat on our behinds at the start and had to work our way back."

Blackadder would have cringed at the sight of his first choice tight five being shunted off their own feed in the first half.

But he was thrilled with a defensive line-out that ruined the Hurricanes set piece in the second half.

"It's an area Dave Hewett coaches and we work hard at. The hard work paid off. The guys committed to it and set piece pressure in this game is so vital.

"There were a couple of momentum shifts there where our guys turned those lineouts over. We got on the front foot and that's the difference in these matches."

The Crusaders only injury concern from the match was flyhalf Colin Slade, who departed shortly before half-time and was limping badly on a heavily wrapped calf after the match.

"He's got more of a calf knock. It's a bruise more than anything, but its nothing too serious. Other than that we're pretty well unscathed," Blackadder said.

Source: Fairfax NZ News

Free State Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls
sast: 16h00 | local: 16h00

  • |
Sat, 22 October 2016
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 12h00 Thomond Park
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 14h00 Bloemfontein
Clermont Auvergne v Bordeaux 14h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Castres v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Pierre Antoine
Saracens v Scarlets 16h30 Allianz Park
Ulster v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 23 October 2016
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Toulouse v Wasps 15h15 Le Mans
Zebre v Connacht 15h15 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16h30 Welford Road
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 22 October 2016
New Zealand v Australia 37 | 10
Fri, 21 October 2016
Sale Sharks v Toulon 5 | 15
Sun, 16 October 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Clermont Auvergne 8 | 35
Bordeaux v Ulster 28 | 13
Sat, 15 October 2016
Scarlets v Sale Sharks 28 | 11
Connacht v Toulouse 23 | 21
Northampton Saints v Montpellier 16 | 14
Blue Bulls v Western Province 36 | 30
Toulon v Saracens 23 | 31
Leinster v Castres 33 | 15
Free State Cheetahs v Golden Lions 55 | 17
Wasps v Zebre 82 | 14
Fri, 14 October 2016
Glasgow Warriors v Leicester Tigers 42 | 13
Sun, 09 October 2016
Saracens v Wasps 30 | 14
Sat, 08 October 2016
Scarlets v Dragons 31 | 27
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9