All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will start for the Crusaders in their Super Rugby semi-final against the Sharks in Christchurch on Saturday.

McCaw returns from a rib injury at blindside flanker and is one of two changes to the starting 15 who beat the Highlanders two weeks ago.

He last played for the All Blacks in their Test series victory over England last month.

Coach Todd Blackadder has also brought in former All Black hooker Corey Flynn, meaning the Crusaders will boast 13 current or former New Zealand internationals in their run-on side.

Previous starters, flanker Jordan Taufua and hooker Ben Funnell, have been relegated to the bench.

The match will be Flynn's 150th for the Crusaders.

"The Sharks have shown this season that they are an extremely classy outfit and a very difficult team to beat. This is our biggest challenge yet, but we feel ready for it," Blackadder said.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Dan Carter, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (capt), Matt Todd, Richie McCaw, Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Jimmy Tupou, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl.