Who is the greatest All Black of all time?

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 17:05 01/11/2012
Richie McCaw
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GREATEST: All Blacks' captain Richie McCaw tops a poll of NZ sporting celebrities.

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Who is the greatest All Black of all time? A survey has found 56 per cent of rugby-mad Kiwis believe Richie McCaw deserves to take the title.

The survey also found McCaw had overtaken Silver Ferns shooter Irene van Dyk as the most liked sporting celebrity, but only just - by a one per cent margin.

Of those surveyed, 89 per cent viewed McCaw favourably, up 11 per cent since the question was last asked in 2008.

While van Dyk and Valerie Adams were equal in second place, with 88 per cent of participants viewing them favourably.

McCaw's team-mate Dan Carter also ranked highly, with 86 per cent of participants holding him in high esteem.

The poll found former All Black coach Sir Graham Henry's popularity had increased, with 75 per cent viewing him favourably, up 10 percent.

While former Crusaders coach Robbie Deans' problems as Wallabies coach seemed to have hurt his image, as 51 per cent viewed him favourably, down 17 per cent.

The only truly polarising sports celebrity on the list was Sonny Bill Williams, with 52 per cent viewing him favourably and 37 per cent unfavourably.

However, Williams scored better amongst league fans, with 69 per cent viewing him favourably compared to 62 per cent from rugby fans, suggesting that any resentment from his controversial departure from the Bulldogs may be fading.

The survey found rugby's place as New Zealand's most popular sport also remained secure, with 66 per cent of participants saying they were interested in it.

Netball came in second place on 45 per cent, followed by cricket on 40 per cent.

The poll also found interest in rowing and athletics was as high as rugby league, motorsport and soccer, likely due to the coverage from the Olympics.

Interest in football was down 20 per cent since its peak in 2010.

A 1000 New Zealanders, 18-years-old and over took part in the online survey, conducted by UMR Research.

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- Fairfax Media

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