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'McCaw curse' blamed for NZ losses

2016-08-18 07:11
Richie McCaw (Gallo Images)

Wellington - As All Blacks captain, double World Cup winner Richie McCaw could do no wrong, but as a talisman for New Zealand Olympians it seems he can do little right.

New Zealand media are abuzz with the "McCaw curse" after a string of competitors at the Rio Olympics underperformed while McCaw looked on.

The latest to be hit was world golf number one Lydia Ko who had a disappointing start to her first round as McCaw watched on Wednesday.

She recovered with a spectacular eagle after McCaw left to see his fiancée Gemma Flynn in the New Zealand women's hockey team who lost their semi-final 3-0 against Great Britain.

Fairfax Media is running two Olympic tables on its Stuff website - one showing New Zealand with a total of 10 medals with the Richie curse but the alternative table says it could have been 13 without it.

Television New Zealand asked McCaw if he was bad luck for the New Zealand team.

"Perhaps I am. I might have to leave," he joked in reply.

McCaw watched the New Zealand men's rugby sevens team crash out before reaching the medal stages, and was on hand to see the women's team lose their final to Australia.

He was also in the main stadium when shot putter Valerie Adams, considered a sure thing for gold, was beaten on the last throw by American Michelle Carter.

"Kiwi Olympians must be viewing Richie McCaw as a sports-watching Grim Reaper, muttering 'uh, oh, I'm doomed' if they spot him," the Stuff website suggested.

On the New Zealand Herald website, readers appealed to McCaw to stay away from Olympic events.

"Send Richie home!! He's jinxing everything," one person wrote. "Seriously Richie watch the next few events from a pub ... Let's get back on the Gold Track!" said Kiwi On Ships. "Please Richie, don't go to the sailing," added Matt.

But it hasn't all been negative around McCaw as he was on hand to watch New Zealand's gold medal victories in kayaking and rowing.

Ko was unfazed by the "curse" saying "it's pretty cool he came out to watch" and added she hoped he would return after she finished the first round four shots behind leader Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand.

Flynn was also supportive of having McCaw around, describing him on an Instagram post as her "lucky charm".

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