Crusaders play it safe with McCaw at number eight

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James Mortimer     13 Jul 2012     Getty Images

There was a hint that Matt Todd or even Luke Whitelock would be stationed at the back of the scrum, but with a home Super Rugby Qualifier on the line, the Crusaders have decided against too much experimentation.

McCaw has featured as eightman already this season, notably being stationed there against Ireland in the third test of the Steinlager Series against Ireland.

Usually the Force would present a formidable challenge for an opposition back row, but with Wallabies captain David Pocock and fellow test representative Ben McCalman missing, the Western Australians are missing some potency from their loose forward arsenal.

One or two eyebrows may have been raised with the selection of senior All Black lock Sam Whitelock and blockbusting centre Robbie Fruean on the bench, but both have clocked up plenty of game time so far this season.

New All Black Luke Romano will start alongside former test lock Tom Donnelly, a combination that doesn’t take much away from a Crusaders lineout that played a significant part in the dismantling of the Chiefs set piece.

Fruean, who has started every game at centre so far this season, makes way for the inform Adam Whitelock, who was a candidate for man-of-the-match honours against the Chiefs.

Interestingly Whitelock marked up against Fruean playing club rugby recently, and scored three tries despite coming up against the Crusaders midfield juggernaut.

Blackadder also had a word of warning for the big centre

“Obviously he's getting a little bit tired,” he said,

“He's started every single game so throw him on the bench, just give him a kick in the backside. He needs to freshen up, but also too he really needs to deliver something because his spots in jeopardy.”