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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 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|
|18:10||Cheetahs vs Reds|
|Friday 24th April|
|08:35||Chiefs vs Western Force|
|10:40||Brumbies vs Highlanders|
|Saturday 25th April|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Blues|
|10:55||Waratahs vs Melbourne Rebels|
|16:05||Lions vs Cheetahs|
|18:10||Stormers vs Bulls|
|Sunday 26th April|
|07:05||Reds vs Hurricanes|
|Friday 1st May|
|08:35||Highlanders vs Sharks|
|10:40||Brumbies vs Waratahs|
|Saturday 2nd May|
|06:30||Blues vs Western Force|
|08:35||Hurricanes vs Crusaders|
|10:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Chiefs|
|16:05||Cheetahs vs Stormers|
|18:10||Bulls vs Lions|
|Friday 8th May|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Reds|
|10:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Blues|
|Saturday 9th May|
|08:35||Hurricanes vs Sharks|
|10:40||Western Force vs Waratahs|
|14:00||Lions vs Highlanders|
|Friday 17th April|
|Crusaders 9 - 26 Chiefs|
|Saturday 11th April|
|Lions 23 - 21 Sharks|
|Bulls 43 - 22 Reds|
|Western Force 15 - 24 Cheetahs|
|Waratahs 18 - 32 Stormers|
|Crusaders 20 - 25 Highlanders|
|Friday 10th April|
|Blues 16 - 14 Brumbies|
|Saturday 4th April|
|Lions 22 - 18 Bulls|
|Sharks 10 - 52 Crusaders|
|Brumbies 20 - 3 Cheetahs|
|Chiefs 23 - 16 Blues|
|Friday 3rd April|
|Melbourne Rebels 23 - 15 Reds|
|Hurricanes 25 - 20 Stormers|
|Saturday 28th March|
|Bulls 31 - 19 Crusaders|
|Sharks 15 - 9 Western Force|
|Waratahs 23 - 11 Blues|
|Highlanders 39 - 21 Stormers|
|Chiefs 37 - 27 Cheetahs|
|Friday 27th March|
|Reds 17 - 18 Lions|
|Hurricanes 36 - 12 Melbourne Rebels|
|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|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com