Carter and Crusaders will need to step up

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James Mortimer     25 Sep 2012     Getty Images

McCaw will likely miss the bulk of the 2013 Investec Super Rugby campaign, although it is still unconfirmed whether he will don the Crusaders colours towards the tail end of their season.

The rumour mill has even suggested that All Blacks and Crusaders first five-eighth was going to activate his sabbatical clause, but Blackadder said to the Press all other troops would be on deck – especially all of the team’s leadership group outside of their decorated skipper.

"He (Carter is staying),” he said.

“Richie is the only one taking a sabbatical.”

It is likely the Kieran Read will step up to wear the Crusaders armband, with the number eight filling in for McCaw when he wasn’t available this year.

Carter is another option, an All Blacks vice-captain and the world record point’s scorer for Investec Super Rugby.

As for McCaw himself, it is likely that Matt Todd will step into the breach.

"It is a big loss when you lose someone of this calibre,” Blackadder said.

“But I also look at it, too, that maybe it is the best thing for the Crusaders.”

Blackadder said the time was right, with the Crusaders coach and McCaw confirmed they had informally breached the topic of a break earlier this year.

"For a guy like him, who has done it all, he was just getting mentally fatigued and tired and there were some classic signs,” he said.

"You just need to look at the last 12 months, with the pressure to win the World Cup and then playing all the way through.

"Now he can't go to the supermarket without signing an autograph.”