Richie McCaw happy to be back in Sydney
August 15, 2014
Greg Growden previews the Bledisloe Cup Test
Richie McCaw arrived in Sydney on Thursday still smarting from the Crusaders' Super Rugby final loss to New South Wales Waratahs, in which his last-minute ruck infringement gifted Bernard Foley the opportunity to kick the hosts to a famous 33-32 victory at ANZ Stadium.
The All Blacks captain, the game's most-decorated player, said he was happy to be back so soon for an opportunity to atone at the same venue with the stakes even higher.
Richie McCaw is happy to be back in Sydney © Getty Images
"Just from a personal point of view, being over here a couple of weeks ago for Super Rugby, to get a chance to come back, have a crack at Bledisloe is pretty exciting," McCaw said. "It's going to be a good challenge. I think we always realised that, so we're looking forward to it."
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he was "dumbfounded" by Kurtley Beale's selection at five-eighth, ahead of Foley, but McCaw wasn't quite as surprised.
"I was dumbfounded by [the selection] a wee bit," Hansen told reporters in Auckland. "I thought 'why would he do that?' and I came to the conclusion that maybe Ewen doesn't trust [Foley] to do be able to do what he wants against us. Or if you really think about it, the other guy [Beale] is under contract and league are chasing him so you might start to think maybe the ARU has told him he's got to pick him.
"One guy has played there all year, the other guy has played seven Tests at most in his whole career at [five-eighth], so why would you change that? At the end of the day it doesn't matter why he has. Both of them are very good rugby players and Kurtley is certainly a guy who loves to do things differently."
McCaw said: "It was always going to be either/or really."I thought Foley might have been there after what he's done in Super Rugby but Beale's played pretty well - especially in the final a couple of weeks ago. It doesn't change things a whole lot from what we want to do. Our goal is to give him as little ball as possible. So if we can do that, we'll be happy."
The Wallabies completed a 3-0 sweep of France in June, while the All Blacks whitewashed England in their three-Test June series, but McCaw said the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship would be another step up for both sides.
All Blacks on Wallabies alert%]
"They had three Tests in June that went alright - three wins - but now with the season ahead, everyone wants to get off to a good start," he said. "So we certainly need to improve from where we were at, and I'm sure from what you hear from the Wallabies they need to do the same.
"That makes for a pretty good match-up over the next couple of weeks."
The All Blacks will only have one training session, Friday's captain's run, in Australia before attempting to secure a world-record 18th straight Test win.
"It's only a three-hour flight and we're just small cousins from across the ditch," Hansen said. "We get to train at home in our own environment. It's something that Super sides do and we're used to coming over late."
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