Wellington, New Zealand. All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will
feature in a starting lineup for the first time since last year’s Rugby
World Cup final when he leads the Canterbury Crusaders against the
Melbourne Rebels in the Super 15 on Saturday.
McCaw has played off the bench in the Crusaders’ last two games after recovering from the foot injury that affected him in the second half of New Zealand’s winning World Cup campaign.
He will also take over the captaincy from his All Blacks teammate Kieran Read, who has led the Crusaders in their 10 matches so far this season. Canterbury is seventh in the Super 15 standings with seven wins and three losses.
Meanwhile, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has acclaimed Dan Carter as the best flyhalf in world rugby but says the star pivot may have to spend some time at inside center during June test matches against Ireland.
Carter has played at inside center for the Crusaders this season because he has been unable to take kicks at goal while recovering from the groin injury that ended his World Cup campaign. The Crusaders have used Tom Taylor as flyhalf and goalkicker, moving Carter into midfield.
Answering questions from fans on AllBlacks.com, Hansen said Carter will only start at flyhalf for the All Blacks if he is able to kick.
Carter “in my mind is the best [flyhalf] in world rugby,” Hansen said. “Right now, though, he is coming back from a groin injury which is limiting his kicking so, wisely, the Crusaders are playing him at 12.
“When he comes into our camp, if he’s able to kick goals then he’ll certainly be starting at 10. But, through necessity, from time to time he may also have to play 12, depending on [the composition of] the bench.”