McCaw ready to return
June 26, 2011
Crusaders' captain McCaw has offered a timely boost to his side ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby semi-final © Getty Images
Richie McCaw is ready to make his return to the Crusaders side ahead of their Super Rugby semi-final against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.
McCaw has struggled with a foot injury and last lined up for the Canterbury franchise against the Reds on May 29. However, the All Blacks captain has undergone a week of intense training and is now ready for the trip to Cape Town.
"It feels all right," said McCaw, who was talking to The Press. "It's still not quite 100 but it's certainly a lot better than it was last time I played. Having those couple of weeks off was the right thing to do. Training last week was pretty much symptom free, so I just need to get through the games now."
Crusaders' head coach Todd Blackadder now faces the selection headache of where to fit McCaw in. His understudy Matt Todd has been in outstanding form and McCaw hopes his experience of the tournament will put him in good stead. "I don't know what Todd's plan is this week but I'll certainly put my name in the mix," he said.
"I suppose the one thing is I've done it before. I've just got to get out there and get stuck in. I'm just lucky I'm available before the season finished. That's exciting and now I've just got to get into it."
The Crusaders defeated the Stormers 20-14 back at Newlands in Round 12 and McCaw is not underestimating the challenge his side face. "They'll be hurting from what happened that first time. They've had a week off to freshen up, and we've just got to make sure we meet their physicality. That's what we did last time and how we got on top," commented McCaw.
"They've got some ability to play and you saw when they came on the tour over here they played pretty good rugby; pretty efficient is probably the way I'd describe it. They're a big forward pack, they get some go-forward and put the ball at the right end of the field, and they're happy to do it in threes if need be. It's going to be a good challenge but they're a team if we get stuck into them, there are opportunities there too."
The Crusaders incredible road-trip in this season's Super Rugby continues and, with their mileage past the 100,000km mark, they now face a trip to Sydney to complete their recovery process, before flying to Johannesburg on Monday morning and McCaw believes the journey is just part of what it takes to win a Super Rugby trophy. "We've done it enough times and that's just the reality of what you've got to do to win the thing," McCaw said.
"We're going to go over there expecting to do well and do the job. That's the way we'll approach it. We've done that all year, we've been all over the place and not used any of that as an excuse and this week will be no different."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
It was another bumper year of rugby action in 2014; join us as we take a look back at some of the season's top statistics
Salary caps, Saints, sinners and scrums - Monday Maul looks back at the key talking points from an eventful weekend
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14