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Crusaders v Sharks: Teams
At AMI Stadium, Friday February 26, kick-off 6.35am
The Crusaders welcome back All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw for Friday's clash with the Sharks in Christchurch.
McCaw has been rested for the opening two rounds of this season's competition but he will now make his return to action off the bench.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said: "'It was always planned to have Richie back this week and to put him on the bench and we're not going to change that philosophy.
"It would be putting him under a lot of pressure as well. It's never about one person and we'll manage him during the game."
Following the defeat to the Reds last time out, Blackadder has made five changes to his starting XV.
Wyatt Crockett, Ryan Crotty, Jared Payne and Sean Maitland all come into the line-up, while All Black lock Brad Thorn replaces the injured Isaac Ross.
England fly-half Andy Goode is poised to make his Sharks debut off the bench after arriving on a short-term deal from Brive.
Fellow loan signing Wilhelm Steenkamp, who has joined from the Bulls, is also named on the bench.
There are three changes to the starting XV as the Sharks go looking fro their first win of the campaign - with Willem Alberts, Johann Muller and Bismarck du Plessis coming into the line-up.
Coach John Plumtree said: "We haven't won a game yet, so for us it could be a good thing to get out of town and get tighter as a group.
"We'll get overseas, work really hard and look to pick up wins; I think we're just lacking a bit of self-belief."
Crusaders: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 George Whitelock, 6 Kieran Read (capt), 5 Brad Thorn, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Joe Wheeler, 19 Richie McCaw, 20 Kahn Fotuali'i, 21 Adam Whitelock, 22 Colin Slade.
Sharks: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Adrian Jacobs, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 John Smit (capt), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Andy Goode, 22 Riaan Swanepoel.
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|17:10||Bulls vs Crusaders|
|Friday 3rd April|
|07:35||Hurricanes vs Stormers|
|09:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Reds|
|Saturday 4th April|
|07:35||Chiefs vs Blues|
|09:40||Brumbies vs Cheetahs|
|14:00||Sharks vs Crusaders|
|16:05||Lions vs Bulls|
|Friday 10th April|
|08:35||Blues vs Brumbies|
|Saturday 11th April|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Highlanders|
|10:40||Waratahs vs Stormers|
|12:45||Western Force vs Cheetahs|
|14:00||Bulls vs Reds|
|16:05||Lions vs Sharks|
|Friday 17th April|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Chiefs|
|Saturday 18th April|
|05:30||Hurricanes vs Waratahs|
|08:35||Highlanders vs Blues|
|10:40||Brumbies vs Melbourne Rebels|
|12:45||Western Force vs Stormers|
|16:05||Sharks vs Bulls|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|Waratahs 28 - 13 Brumbies|
|Saturday 21st March|
|Sharks 12 - 11 Chiefs|
|Bulls 25 - 24 Western Force|
|Crusaders 57 - 14 Cheetahs|
|Friday 20th March|
|Melbourne Rebels 16 - 20 Lions|
|Highlanders 13 - 20 Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th March|
|Cheetahs 10 - 27 Sharks|
|Stormers 19 - 28 Chiefs|
|Reds 0 - 29 Brumbies|
|Highlanders 26 - 19 Waratahs|
|Crusaders 34 - 6 Lions|
|Friday 13th March|
|Western Force 17 - 21 Melbourne Rebels|
|Hurricanes 30 - 23 Blues|
|Saturday 7th March|
|Stormers 29 - 13 Sharks|
|Cheetahs 20 - 39 Bulls|
|Reds 5 - 23 Waratahs|
|Blues 10 - 13 Lions|
|Friday 6th March|
|Brumbies 27 - 15 Western Force|
|Chiefs 17 - 20 Highlanders|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com