The Crusaders have confirmed that All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been ruled out for up to eight weeks with a thumb injury, meaning that he will not return at the latest until the seven-time champions Round 12 clash against the Brumbies.
The Crusaders have a Round ten bye, but will hope that McCaw’s remarkable powers of recovery do their magic, with the Chiefs welcoming their great rivals to Hamilton the week before.
From a Crusaders perspective the form of Matt Todd ensures that the team has plenty of options to cover in the back row.
With the Stormers arriving in Christchurch this coming weekend, coach Todd Blackadder is likely to use Kieran Read, Todd and George Whitelock as his starting combination.
The 124-Test All Blacks skipper broke his thumb in the first half of the Crusaders 35-24 loss to the Blues.
Looking at the glass half full, the enforced break will mean McCaw will be fresh to take on the English during the Steinlager Series, with it likely that the All Blacks openside will get at least a couple of Investec Super Rugby matches under his belt.
At this stage there is no indication that McCaw will not lead his country into battle against Stuart Lancaster’s men.