READER REPORT:

Captain Richie McCaw is not immortal

JONATHAN DINE
Last updated 12:50 19/03/2014
Richie McCaw
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
THE END? Richie McCaw is missing several weeks of the Super Rugby competition after breaking a thumb.

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Life has its inevitabilities - death, taxes and hangovers to name a few.

Time waits for no man, not even legends. Spartacus fell, Muhammad Ali's hands lost their punch and Carl Lewis could no longer break 10 seconds.

Each minute Richie McCaw spends on the park in 2014 it becomes more apparent that his induction into this elite company is nigh.

McCaw's perfect swan song played out at Eden Park in October 2011 as he finally and rightfully held the William Webb Ellis Trophy aloft, cementing himself as the All Blacks' greatest captain.

A broken foot, the World Cup demons put to rest, an exhausted body, 100 test caps, McCaw had done it all and deserved to bow out on his own terms with his reputation intact.

He didn't.

After just 120 minutes of Super Rugby this year McCaw has only made one trademark pilfer. His presence at ruck time is a shadow of his former self. He is noticeably behind the speed of the game, he's injury-prone, and perhaps most alarmingly seems unwilling to fully commit in collision.

He has lead the resurgence of the All Blacks to its world-beating prowess. He is a New Zealand hero, consummate professional and a god of the game.

He has sweated, bled and all but died for the black jersey, but McCaw's desire to sacrifice himself physically and mentally may prove his greatest failing.

Kieran Read's performances in both the red and the black jerseys over the past two years have seen him become the greatest player on the planet today.

With Read's uncompromising passion, tenacity and talent he is the perfect player and person to be McCaw's successor.

If the All Blacks are to be the first team to successfully defend the World Cup, Read must lead.

A broken thumb may prove a merciful end for our mighty conqueror.

The weary, ageing McCaw's days at the helm of the All Black empire are numbered.

Michael Jordan's body had checked out when he tried to prolong his career.

Sachin Tendulkar batted well past his prime to diminish his test stats.

Brett Farve refuses to hang up the cleats and Roger Federer is the same with the racquet.

Here's hoping McCaw wont sully his legacy by playing past his use by date.

A similar scenario exists above the footy field in the commentary box.

Grant Nisbetts' career will forever be etched in New Zealand rugby folklore.

His infamous line "Pops it Lomu, can he make it? You bet ya, you bet ya, Lomu's in", will echo in our heads for eternity.

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Now the time has come for a new commentary king to usurp the leather throne and that man is Tony Johnson.

Nisbett appears disinterested and unenthusiastic while calling his matches so far this year, affecting the spectacle of the game.

Conversely, the underrated Johnson brings a level of excitement that transforms a good match to a great one.
Nisbo must hang up the head set and hand the microphone to Johnson before his best days are also behind him. 


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