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Brumbies wary of Super Rugby's 'absolute warrior' Richie McCaw

He's back: Richie McCaw speaks to the media ahead of his comeback match for the Canterbury Crusaders.

He's back: Richie McCaw speaks to the media ahead of his comeback match for the Canterbury Crusaders.

He is described as Super Rugby's ultimate warrior and has never lost to the ACT Brumbies  in New Zealand. But the Brumbies believe their fierce attack at the breakdown can combat All Blacks great Richie McCaw as he prepares for his comeback game in Christchurch on Saturday.

World Cups, Super Rugby titles and more than a decade as one of the world's best players - McCaw will bolster the seven-time champions Crusaders as they aim to continue the Brumbies' 14-year hoodoo in New Zealand.

The champion flanker will be playing just his third game of the season after breaking his thumb in the second round.

McCaw holds an impressive record against the Brumbies, having never lost against the ACT in New Zealand.

McCaw holds an impressive record against the Brumbies, having never lost against the ACT in New Zealand.

But Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher warned his players to expect the New Zealand skipper to be back to his brilliant best in the crucial rivalry contest.

"He's the ultimate competitor, he's an absolute warrior. You never get a cheap possession and you never get a cheap try [when McCaw's there]," Fisher said. "He just never gives in, he's hard around the breakdown and competes for everything. The rest of the Crusaders side draws encouragement from that. He's just a real warrior."

For almost a decade McCaw and Brumbies great George Smith went head to head as the two best openside flankers in world rugby. But while Smith retired from Australian rugby in 2010, McCaw has powered on to establish himself as a legend of the game.

Perhaps the only weakness in his game is his lack of game time this year. But Fisher said it would be foolish to take him lightly. "He won't be missing out. He's an inspiration and, like all good leaders, he inspires by action. He's the heart and soul of the Crusaders team."

The Brumbies are regarded as one of the most ferocious breakdown teams in the competition, despite not boasting a specialist openside flanker as injured superstar David Pocock is out for the rest of the season.

The Crusaders will launch an assault at the ruck with McCaw to team up with his understudy Matt Todd.

The Brumbies have not beaten the Crusaders in New Zealand since a team of superstars toppled the Canterbury side in 2000.

That was the year before McCaw made his Super Rugby debut, and the World Cup-winning skipper will be intent on continuing his 14-year run against the Brumbies.

McCaw took a sabbatical from Super Rugby last year but returned to lead New Zealand to triumph in the Rugby Championships.

His game time has been minimal. But Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen said that should serve as a warning as the team braces for a rejuvenated veteran to run onto the field.

"You just know he's world-class, even when he's not near his best," Mowen said. "In a way it's easy to prepare for him because you know that all of his games are brilliant. They're talking about him as possibly the best All Blacks captain ever. That sort of player boosts any team."

Only five Brumbies players have beaten the Crusaders - Mowen, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is the only member of the squad to win a game in New Zealand against Super Rugby's most dominant team.

It is the first time the Brumbies have played the Crusaders in New Zealand since 2011. Since then they have won in Pretoria, Durban, Wellington, Dunedin, Auckland and Johannesburg. Now, they are desperate to add the Crusaders' scalp to their list of achievements.

"We put it out there as a challenge to the group. It's not just the record that we haven't won since 2000, more so it's the way we've been comprehensively beaten in the past three games over there," Larkham said.

"It's a challenging place to be at; they play a more confident brand of rugby when they're at home. It's a true heartland of rugby in New Zealand ... it's an amazing experience and the guys will know all about it on Saturday."

The Crusaders have lost just three of 18 games at their new AMI Stadium home.

Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25 vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23 vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20 vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10 vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16 vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20 vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15 vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43 vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9 vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24 vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8 vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6 vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10 vs BUL 17 Stats
CHT 3 vs RED Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF vs FOR 17:35WS
BRU vs HIG 19:55GIO Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs BLU 17:35AMI
WAR vs REB 19:55ANZ
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO vs CHT 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BUL 03:10DHL Newlands
RED vs HUR 16:05SS
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG vs SHA 17:35FBS
BRU vs WAR 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs FOR 15:30EP
HUR vs CRU 17:35WS
REB vs CHF 19:40AAMI
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs STO 01:05FSS
BUL vs LIO 03:10Loftus Versfeld
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs RED 17:35AMI
REB vs BLU 19:40AAMI
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs SHA 17:35WS
FOR vs WAR 19:40nib Stadium
LIO vs HIG 23:00Emirates Airlines Park
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs BRU 01:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BUL 17:35EP
RED vs REB 19:40SS
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs CHF 17:35WS
WAR vs SHA 19:40AS
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO vs BRU 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
CHT vs HIG 03:10FSS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 17:35Rotorua International Stadium
RED vs SHA 19:40SS
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HUR 17:35Emirates Airlines Park
WAR vs CRU 19:40ANZ
FOR vs HIG 21:45nib Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs LIO 01:05FSS
STO vs REB 03:10DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HUR 17:35Trafalgar Park
BRU vs BUL 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA vs REB 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG vs CHF 17:35Rugby Park
FOR vs RED 19:40nib Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs CHT 01:05DHL Newlands
LIO vs WAR 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 17:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 15:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 17:35EP
RED vs CHF 19:40SS
CHT vs WAR 23:00FSS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO vs LIO 01:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 17:35EP
REB vs FOR 19:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU vs CRU 15:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 17:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR vs RED 19:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL vs CHT 01:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 8 7 1 0 85 33
Bulls 9 6 3 0 48 28
Brumbies 9 5 4 0 83 26
Chiefs 9 7 2 0 70 32
Stormers 9 6 3 0 31 26
Waratahs 8 5 3 0 27 23
Highlanders 8 6 2 0 33 28
Lions 9 5 4 0 -48 21
View all
 
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