Richie McCaw: Captain Fantastic
Richie McCaw is our greatest All Black ever. It is as simple as that.
Who else has been able to achieve 100+ games in the black jersey and win 102 of his 116 test match appearances?If that doesn't speak volumes about him as a player and a leader I don't know what else does.
Of course rugby is a team sport, but McCaw is a vital piece of the package.
Since his debut in 2001 he has been the world's best flanker for the majority of his years. Even in the season just finished he has been able to make changes to his game that mean he remains regarded as the best even as rugby itself continues to evolve and develop. He continues to show that an old dog can learn new tricks.
His individual performance against the Springboks in Dunedin this year was by far one of his best performances in a few years. His running game, brutal tackling and his work at the breakdown were flawless. As a captain, he leads from the front and time after time puts his body on the line.
McCaw has always regarded himself as a team player, and it's easy to see this from his interview on Campbell Live in October while on his book promotional tour. He was asked by John Campbell about his remarkable achievement of 100 wins from 112 test matches, his response: "yeah, its pretty special really. You have to be part of a pretty good team to be able to do that". It's this statement that really sums up McCaw in a nut shell. Even with all of his individual achievements it's always about his team and playing alongside his mates. It's this humility that has made him not only a great player but a great captain.
As he heads off on sabbatical for a much needed rest we hope he will be around for a couple more years. After all, he has led the All Blacks to an impressive year considering that most teams who win the World Cup don't typically follow up with a continuation of their form. All of those doubts have been heavily dismissed.
After winning his forth Kelvin Tremain Memorial Player of the Year trophy last Friday, he spoke of his up and coming break and I think we all hope that he finds time to slip away to places where rugby is slightly further down the pecking order of sports loved.
We probably wont begin to appreciate him as a player and leader until he leaves the game.
Whatever you think, I certainly am thankful we have him leading our great team.
So thanks Richie, for all you have done. Is it to early to wish you all the best for the next 100 games in the black jersey?
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