Reds flanker Liam Gill is relishing the prospect of facing Crusaders legend Richie McCaw in Saturday's play-off in Christchurch.
Reds flanker Liam Gill is relishing the prospect of facing returning Crusaders legend Richie McCaw in Saturday's play-off in Christchurch.
McCaw has been included on the Crusaders' replacements bench after playing in just one one club match since the All Blacks' defeat to England at Twickenham last November.
But despite so little action this season, Gill expects the 116-Test veteran to hit the ground running if he makes an appearance this weekend.
“I do think he'll be back to old Richie,” he told Fairfax Media.
“He's been great in the last decade, I wouldn't think seven months off will change much of that.
“He'll be back just as strong. The way he understands the game…his experience and timing is just unbelievable.”
Meanwhile, McCaw's great rival, Reds pivot Quade Cooper, believes he will receive a hostile reception from the Christchurch crowd.
Cooper and McCaw have come to blows on several occasions – especially in matches between the Wallabies and the All Blacks – with the Reds number 10 mostly the aggressor.
But the 25-year-old is unfazed by the type of welcome he will receive from the Crusaders' supporters.
“I expect that every week,” said Cooper.
“Nothing changes. We just played down in NSW and I take it I'm not the most favourable bloke down there either.
“It is what it is and that's part and parcel of rugby and rivalries in rugby. We've got a great rivalry with the Crusaders as a team.
“We played them in 2011 and managed to get the win. I'm sure that will add to the occasion.”