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McCaw fit to face Force

RICHIE McCaw will return to the Crusaders team in their Super 15 match against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday night.

McCaw missed last weekend's match against the Highlanders with a bruised foot following his recovery from a foot stress fracture but he will lead the Crusaders against the Force providing he gets through today's training run.

McCaw will start at No.8, replacing Joe Wheeler, who has been bracketed on the bench with Reuben Thorne.

In the front row, Corey Flynn and Ben Franks come in at hooker and prop for Quentin MacDonald and Owen Franks respectively.

Luke Romano, who played almost 60 minutes when coming on for the injured Brad Thorn last weekend, starts at lock alongside Chris Jack.

Sonny Bill Williams starts at second-five ahead of Adam Whitelock, and Sean Maitland comes back to the right wing, replacing Tom Marshall.

Willi Heinz comes on to the reserves bench as halfback cover.

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said he was expecting a good response from his players following last weekend's loss to the Highlanders.

"It's important that we start our trip with a good performance and I'm sure we'll get that against the Force who always lift for games against the Crusaders," he said.

"Having Richie back is obviously a big boost and he's keen to get stuck in again."

Not considered due to injury were Andy Ellis (thumb), Brad Thorn (calf), Dan Carter (hamstring) and Sam Whitelock (ankle).

Crusaders side:

1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Corey Flynn, 3. Ben Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Chris Jack, 6. George Whitelock, 7. Matt Todd, 8. Richie McCaw (c), 9. Kahn Fotuali'i, 10. Matt Berquist, 11. Zac Guildford, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Robbie Fruean, 14. Sean Maitland, 15. Israel Dagg

Reserves: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Owen Franks, 18. Joe Wheeler / Reuben Thorne, 19. Jonathan Poff, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tom Marshall, 22. Adam Whitelock.


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