McCaw close to resuming Crusaders duty

McCaw close to resuming Crusaders duty

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 16:30 01/07/2013
mccaw landscape
JOSEPH JOHNSON

BACK ON THE FIELD: Richie McCaw at training today.

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Richie McCaw ran with his Crusaders team-mates at training today but there is no chance of him joining them for their crucial match against the Chiefs at AMI Stadium on Friday night.

Last week Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said McCaw might finally start playing next weekend, either for his Christchurch club or for the Crusaders in their final Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes.

Assistant coach Tabai Matson intimated an early return was unlikely, when asked if the Chiefs match was too early for All Blacks captain McCaw to make his comeback from his six-month sabbatical.

"I think so. He just joined us to do his own fitness, but it's always more fun when you are with mates," Matson said today.

Last week McCaw trained independently from the squad.

Matson reiterated the flanker would be given space to make his own decision about his return.

"It's really up to him," Matson said.

"Whether it be a club game, or the high-pressure of a Super Rugby match, really is something to be discussed over the coming days."

The Crusaders are expected to name their strongest line-up for their penultimate match where a win will secure their place in the play-offs.

The Chiefs need just one more competition point to win the New Zealand conference.

Matson was also grateful to have a fit backline despite Ma'a Nonu launching a late tackle on Dan Carter and tipping Tom Marshall in a spear tackle that earned him a red card.

Nonu also got an off-field yellow card for his late hit on Carter.

"I can't comment about someone else's mental state and probably in one incident he clearly had a brain fart and he's paid the consequences," Matson said.

"What he did to 'Tojo' (Marshall) - you can get seriously injured doing that and that's why they have a zero tolerance."

Nonu has been suspended for three-weeks, meaning his season with the Highlanders is over.

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