Rugby World Cup 2011 to be McCaw's last?
December 16, 2010
McCaw is a three-time winner of the International Rugby Board's Player of the Year title © Getty Images
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has hinted that next year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand will be his last.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old has graced the sport's biggest stage on two previous occasions - in Australia in 2003 and again in France in 2007 - and shared in his side's high profile failures on both occasions. But the three-time IRB Player of the Year and his team have a chance to atone on home soil in 2011 and McCaw sees the tournament as his last chance to add the World Cup to his unrivalled rugby CV.
Talking to the Mountain Scene website, McCaw revealed his hopes for his side and the tournament as a whole. "It's exciting," he said. "You can look at it, it's this big thing that's coming or you can get just bloody excited about it - I think all Kiwis should. Regardless of the rugby, it's going to be pretty cool for six weeks, and to play in it, hopefully [in my own country], I couldn't think of anything better. And imagine winning it - look at it like that, rather than going, 'Here we go again'.
"If you dreamed of what you want to do as a rugby player, playing for the All Blacks in a World Cup in NZ would be one of the things you'd want to tick off. We're happy where we're at, but things change so quickly. We were going really well four years ago, at this time, too. We certainly won't be getting carried away with ourselves."
And while playing down the suggestion that he would retire after RWC'11, he admitted that the tournament would most likely be his last assault on the Webb Ellis Cup. "I'm pretty keen to carry on for a bit longer," he insisted. "Where? I don't know. I haven't made a decision where I'm going to be. I'm not 30, yet, so hopefully I've got a couple of years left. It will be my last World Cup, I'd say. I think three will be enough - I'll be 34 in 2015."
McCaw also revealed that his friends have helped him to stay grounded after another outstanding year that saw the All Blacks reclaim the Tri-Nations crown and record their fourth Grand Slam tour of the UK & Ireland.
"I've got mates that bloody will tell you that you're not as special as you think you are - that's the way it should be," he said. "It's nice to have nice things said about you individually, but you can't do what you do without a good team and good players around you.
"That's what I always bear in mind, that I'm so lucky to be playing for one of the best teams in the world, with some of the best players in the world. The last thing you want to be is walking around and thinking you're better than everyone else in the team because you just don't last, that's not the way Kiwis are.
"I remember when I first made the All Blacks, someone said - it might have been Todd Blackadder - there's no need to change now that you're an All Black. You keep the same values and [remain] the same person, there's no need to change, and if you do, you'll look back one day and be disappointed."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside