McCaw: It's not just another game
October 15, 2011
Richie McCaw has demanded precision from the All Blacks © Getty Images
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is determined to overcome the occasion in Sunday's Rugby World Cup semi-final against Australia.
New Zealand came up short against the Wallabies in August's Tri-Nations decider and given their recent World Cup history, the pressure is very much on McCaw's men.
"It's not another game, I think you acknowledge that from the start," McCaw said. "It's not just another game, but you've got to do a lot of the things exactly the same to ensure you perform.
"The way you train, the things you've got to do during the week, obviously you've got to make sure they are pretty similar. I think when you get into tomorrow, what is different is the excitement and obviously what is at the end.
"The big thing is not to let that get on top of you and inhibit you from going out there and playing well. I think what has been the big thing this week is to make sure we go about our process of getting ready to play, the way you train, but being excited about it because it is a World Cup semi-final."
Aaron Cruden will steer the ship from fly-half, having replaced the injured Dan Carter and Colin Slade, but McCaw wants a clinical performance from all 15 of his charges.
"To win these games you've got to have 15 guys, plus the seven coming on off the bench, all to play their best rugby. We've got to do it together," McCaw said. "You don't take anything for granted. I think this team, with a lot of guys having been through that experience [losing a 2007 quarter-final to France], they are the sort of lessons you learn.
"These games are about taking opportunities when they present themselves. As the games get bigger and there is a bit more at stake, those opportunities perhaps become a bit less and it's about the teams that can nail them.
"I think what you have seen over the years at World Cups is that it comes down to stopping the other team scoring, putting pressure on and stuff like that. It's really no different, it's just about having an impact for longer and the teams that do that are the teams that prevail."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall