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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.
|Saturday 12th July|
|Crusaders - Highlanders|
|Friday 11th July|
|Brumbies 47 - 25 Western Force|
|Blues 8 - 11 Chiefs|
|Sunday 6th July|
|Waratahs 44 - 16 Highlanders|
|Saturday 5th July|
|Cheetahs 27 - 20 Sharks|
|Stormers 16 - 0 Bulls|
|Western Force 30 - 20 Reds|
|Crusaders 21 - 13 Blues|
|Friday 4th July|
|Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne Rebels|
|Chiefs 24 - 16 Hurricanes|
|Saturday 28th June|
|Western Force 14 - 40 Blues|
|Waratahs 39 - 8 Brumbies|
|Hurricanes 16 - 9 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th June|
|Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 Reds|
|Highlanders 29 - 25 Chiefs|
|Saturday 31st May|
|Sharks 19 - 21 Stormers|
|Lions 32 - 21 Bulls|
|Brumbies 37 - 10 Melbourne Rebels|
|Blues 37 - 24 Hurricanes|
|Chiefs 17 - 33 Waratahs|
|Friday 30th May|
|Reds 38 - 31 Highlanders|
|Crusaders 30 - 7 Western Force|
|Saturday 24th May|
|Stormers 33 - 0 Cheetahs|
|Western Force 29 - 19 Lions|
|Hurricanes 45 - 8 Chiefs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com