WING SEAN Maitland may make his return from injury when the Crusaders host the Reds in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon in a repeat of last year’s Super Rugby final.
Maitland, who has been sidelined with an ankle complaint, has been bracketed with Adam Whitelock in the No 14 jersey.
His inclusion in the team will be subject to full participation in training today.
Coach Todd Blackadder has resisted the temptation to thrust Richie McCaw into the starting XV after the All Blacks skipper returned from injury via the bench against the Waratahs last weekend, sticking with Matt Todd at openside.
The other interesting selection point is Luke Romano keeping his place at lock ahead of All Black Sam Whitelock, who for the second week in a row finds himself on the bench.
Romano and Tom Donnelly will lock horns with Wallaby internationals James Horwill and Rob Simmons.
The Reds beat the Crusaders 18-13 in last year’s Super Rugby final and have won their last three games against the red and blacks.
Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Sean Maitland/Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Dan Carter, Zac Guildford, Tom Taylor, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Tom Donnelly, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks
Reserves: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Sam Whitelock, Richie McCaw, Willi Heinz, Ryan Crotty, Tom Marshall
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.