No restrictions on game time have been placed on All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw when he returns from his sabbatical on Saturday.
McCaw will end his seven-month break when he turns out for his Christchurch club against University at Christchurch Park in the Canterbury Metro competition.
The 32-year-old has not played rugby since the All Blacks’ test against England at Twickenham last December.
It will be the first time he has played for Christchurch since 2009.
Christchurch co-coach Daniel O’Brien said there had been no word from the Crusaders or All Blacks management on how long McCaw was allowed to play.
“He’s there to play as long as we need him. Obviously it’s a good hit-out for him,” he said.
“It will be his call to see how he’s going. There are no restrictions at this stage.”
McCaw watched the Christchurch team train last week and will be involved at the team practice on Tuesday night.
There has been no decision about where in the loose-forward trio McCaw will line up, but O’Brien said the club would be “silly” not to play him at openside flanker.
He said Christchurch had a youthful squad this season, with the eldest player in the side, besides McCaw, being 27 years old.
He said the players were keen to play alongside the 116-test veteran this weekend.
“There’s a real excitement level to be playing alongside one of the greatest players to ever play in the country,” O’Brien said.
“It’s exciting for those boys. It’s something they’ll be able to talk about for years to come.”
McCaw’s presence will be a massive boost for the Christchurch club, with a large crowd expected for Saturday’s home fixture.
Christchurch rugby manager Mike O’Donovan said extra security had been organised for the game.
“It’s going to be a massive occasion for wee kids, middle-aged people and older people. He’s got such a high mana. He’s world famous,” he said.
McCaw will aim to build up his match fitness and could be a chance to feature for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby finals.
During his sabbatical, McCaw was busy travelling to countries such as the United States, flying and doing promotional work for Fonterra in Sri Lanka.
He hopes to be back for the All Blacks’ first Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Sydney on August 17.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.