McCaw: The best is yet to come
April 27, 2012
Richie McCaw is poised for a return to action for the first time since the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has sounded out an ominous warning to the rest of the rugby world by insisting that his best is yet to come.
McCaw, who has not played since steering New Zealand to the 2011 Rugby World Cup crown due to surgery on a foot injury, is poised to make long-awaited return to action this weekend having been named on the bench for the Crusaders' latest Super Rugby outing against the Waratahs in Sydney.
The 31-year-old is relishing lacing up his boots again and believes he is about to embark on what could be the greatest chapter of an already glittering career. "The search goes on," he wrote in his blog for The Rugby Site. "The World Cup has been won, but the goals remain. I want to win another championship with the Crusaders, I want to keep up the standards of the All Blacks and I want to play the perfect game. I make my comeback against the Waratahs this weekend and I have so much to look forward to. It's hard to let people really know just how excited I am about it."
McCaw memorably racked up his 100th Test appearance during the recent World Cup and is the only player to have won the International Rugby Board's Player of the Year honour three times. But he refuses to rest on his laurels and has raised the bar once again.
"Have I come close to that perfect game? I always think of the second Test against the Lions in 2005 and the 19-0 victory over South Africa in Cape Town in 2008. But perfect? Not really. There's always something to work on. And maybe perfection is the impossible dream that keeps us all going. Did Jack Nicklaus ever play the perfect round of golf? No, but he kept trying.
"My best rugby can still be ahead of me. If you think you can't do something, then you won't. But if you think you can, then you always have a chance. Your mental attitude matters above all else. The idea that I can still get better drives me to work harder. I have the experience, the knowledge to influence games, the drive to always be better than the week before. If I didn't feel I can find perfection then I might as well look for something else to do."
Looking ahead to his likely return to the international stage with a three-Test series against Ireland scheduled for June, McCaw said: "How can you not be without goals with so many people behind you? The All Blacks leadership group (myself, Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Conrad Smith, Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore) has already met. The June Tests against Ireland feel like a new challenge and we don't want to let the All Blacks form slip. Another goal.
"And maybe, just maybe, somewhere along the line I might just touch the perfect game. The perfect game may not be the one that looks flashy on TV. For me it is about putting the opposition under pressure, creating opportunities for others, making the big tackles, winning turnover ball that leads to a try. There's always something worth reaching out for if you want it badly enough."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength
'Nothing can prepare you for the noise of the Millennium Stadium though, you just can't hear anything." Tom Hamilton talks to Cory Allen