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Crusaders add more to stacked casualty ward

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James Mortimer     01 Apr 2013     Getty Images

With Richie McCaw on sabbatical for the season, Dan Carter on baby watch and Kieran Read injured, it was always going to be a tough ask, but the Crusaders showed probably the best glimpse of their ‘old-ways’, a patient and measured beast that pounces on their prey when the best time presents itself.

Few teams have kept their foot on the throat of opponents as the Crusaders have throughout history, and while heroic defence in the dying stages against the Stormers might not constitute ‘foot on the throat’, it was still a performance where the visitors gritted their teeth and screamed like Gandulf the Wizard.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

While the victory will hold the team in good stead as they head to Durban to play the Sharks, the news on the manpower front was not so positive.

All Blacks prop Owen Franks has rib cartilage damage and will miss at least one game.

However wing Johnny McNicholl is out for the season, after fracturing a bone in his left leg, meaning a recovery time of approximately four to five months.

Israel Dagg, who missed the last two Crusaders matches with a hamstring strain, is a good chance to play this weekend, as is fellow back Tom Taylor, who has been out with a knee complaint.

Dan Carter is expected to link up with the team in a fortnight as they play the Force in Perth on the final match of their tour.