READER REPORT:

Richie McCaw: How does he stack up?

OWEN MCCARTHY
Last updated 05:00 25/12/2012
Richie McCaw and Michael Jones

TWO GREATS: Richie McCaw and Michael Jones.

Related Links

Is McCaw really the greatest? McCaw greatest exponent of the game Richie McCaw: Captain Fantastic Richie McCaw: What makes a great leader?

Relevant offers

Stuff Nation

Top five reader comments of the day Cat's back after years as if nothing happened Beauty of the night over Breaker Bay A furry source of happiness New Zealand's biggest asset is its people Which foods are super for you? Giving with one hand, taking with the other 'Powerless' to stop mum drinking Can English club reign in Champions League? Here's to the happy pregnancies

To judge Richie McCaw as the greatest All Black ever, you must travel through All Black history and line up his achievements against preceding players.

My generation tosses up a plethora of names. The Whetton brothers, the incomparable Michael Jones, John Kirwan, Colin Meads, Brian Lochore, Zinzan Brooke, John Gallagher and think of the readers spluttering in to their beverages at my omission of Fitzpatrick, Cullen, Wilson and Lomu.

My Dad's generation will tell you all about Ron Jarden, who retired at the pinnacle of his career to focus on his work. Going back even further you face players of the calibre of Cliff Porter (I got to meet him as a youngster), Dave Gallagher and the legendary George Nepia who had four test caps.

In the old days players set off on long tours, sometimes lasting months. They faced long journeys by sea, and arduous schedules of more than a game a week. These players were amateurs. They played purely for the love of the game, and while some dined out on their fame for years, for most it was pride in the jersey and not much else.

Compare that to the modern era, where players face the daunting decision of what tunes to download on their MP3 player. How many current All Blacks have been Rhodes scholars? How many are true role models for life? How many are working their way through studies when they're not playing? Do these things even count when deciding on what makes the best player ever? Or does it come down to pure playing genius? 

Some players exude class, in all aspects of their lives. Some shine briefly and then are forgotten. The name Meads has endured for over 60 years and still commands respect. Will McCaw be the recipient of such reverence in 2055?


View all contributions
Ad Feedback

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which reader's plan would you support?

Arturo Pelayo - Community uses for vacant lots

Nick Teulon - Incentives to swap cars for bikes

Bruce Roberts - Educational support for Pasifika children

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content