McCaw not concerned by respect row
August 5, 2011
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw © Getty Images
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw is nonplussed as to whether or not the Wallabies respect the All Blacks, insisting that his sole concern ahead of Saturday's Tri-Nations clash in Auckland is readying his troops for another war with their bitter rivals.
The build-up to the game at Eden Park has been overshadowed by a debate over respect, a debate which was sparked by All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen's claim that he didn't believe that the Wallabies respected the All Blacks.
McCaw feels that the issue is largely irrelevant given that he is expecting the Aussies to come out all guns blazing on Saturday irrespective of their feelings towards the reigning Tri-Nations champions. When asked if thought that the Wallabies respected their cousins from across the Tasman Sea, he replied: "I presume so. But whatever they think, they're going to be up for the Test."
Indeed, this is a pivotal game in the tournament given that both sides opened their respective campaigns with bonus point-clinching wins over the Springboks. There is also the small matter of the Bledisloe Cup, which has been in possession of the All Blacks for the past eight seasons.
The All Blacks are heavy favourites to prevail, primarily because it is they who have home advantage, but McCaw is anticipating a tight affair, with the more clinical side on the day likely to come out on top.
"Both teams want to use the ball, but in a test match like this it comes down to one or two opportunities, and that can dictate what happens for the rest of the game, so it's about making the most of those chances I think," he said. "It could be a tight old tussle, that's certainly what we're expecting."
Much has been made of the fact that the All Blacks will this weekend be fielding the oldest team in history, with an average of 28 years and 316 days. However, McCaw subscribes to the theory that age is just a number.
"Regardless of your age, you've got to go out and perform every week," he said. "The guys all feel pretty good and personally I can't wait to get into it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton