McCaw boost for Crusaders
McCaw boost for CrusadersSHARE
The Crusaders are on track to have All Black captain Richie McCaw fully recovered in time for their Super Rugby semifinal.
Their convincing victory over the Highlanders in Christchurch at the weekend has secured the Red and Blacks top spot on the New Zealand conference, meaning they'll miss the first round of the play-offs this coming Saturday.
Coach Todd Blackadder has told Newstalk ZB that McCaw is recovering well and should make for a timely return from a rib injury.
"He's probably a week away," Blackadder said.
"[He] probably would be ready to take contact at the end of this week and so he'll be ready for that.
"Hopefully he passes that, gets the tick there and he's available for selection the week after."
Ensuring the fire doesn't go out of the Crusaders' game could be the biggest issue for Todd Blackadder over the next 12 days.
Securing second place on the Super Rugby log guarantees the Crusaders an extra week to prepare for their home semifinal on July 25 or 26 and how Blackadder manages this tricky period could determine whether they progress to their first grand final since their 18-13 defeat to the Reds, in Brisbane, in 2011.
Any worries the players could lose their battle-hardened attitude should be offset by the rare opportunity to rehabilitate their bodies before hosting their first semi in Christchurch since the competition expanded to 15 teams in 2011.
"Not at all, we have no concerns," Blackadder said when asked if he was worried his men might go off the boil.
"The guys have played a lot of football and how we manage this week is going to be very important. Some guys are going to freshen-up and we are going to focus on some areas of our game we need to improve on."
Sources: The Press & Newstalk ZB