Crusaders call for cover
All Blacks pair set to return for Cheetahs tie
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 08/05/11 12:35pm
Blackadder: Crusaders coach forced to bring in players after injuries to four stars
Canterbury Crusaders have been forced to draft in reinforcements after losing four backs to injury for their two-match tour of South Africa.
The in-form Super Rugby side's full-back Israel Dagg, who has scored seven tries this season, pulled up with a thigh problem as he was making a clearance in the 20-14 victory over the Stormers.
In the same game winger Sean Maitland, the top try-scorer in Super Rugby this year with eight, injured his foot, scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i damaged medial ligaments in his knee and replacement back Adam Whitelock tore a pectoral muscle.
The club's official website confirmed that all four will be sent home and replaced by Ryan Crotty, Steve Alfeld, Tom Taylor and Brent Ward in the squad to face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
The Crusaders already have an extensive injury list with absentees including All Blacks foursome Andy Ellis, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock and Ben Franks.
It is expected, however, that fly-half Dan Carter and flanker Richie McCaw will be able to shake off their injuries in time for the clash with the Cheetahs.
Despite the injury set-backs, coach Todd Blackadder was full of praise for his squad following their eighth victory in 11 matches this season.
"We had so many injuries, but it brought out some more resolve and that was great to see," he told New Zealand sports website stuff.co.nz
"There are all those other occasions when Crusaders teams have done that, and this group showed they've got that in them too."