Wellington - Rugby World Cup winning All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is not interested in receiving a knighthood until his playing days are over, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has said.
Key said he sounded out the inspirational flanker about getting a gong shortly after McCaw led the All Blacks to victory on home soil at the Rugby World Cup this year.
But while McCaw had no objections to being knighted in the future he did not think it appropriate to accept the honour during his playing days, the recently re-elected PM said.
"The conclusion that he drew was that he would love to take it but now wasn't the right time," Key told Radio Sport.
"He made the call that he's still in his playing career and it didn't feel quite right for him. That day where he's no longer on the pitch may be the right time for him."
Key said McCaw was not formally offered the knighthood but had he shown an indication that he would accept then a formal approach would have been made.
"I certainly wanted him to take it," the prime minister added.
McCaw, the only person to be awarded the IRB World Player of the Year title three times, recently signed on for another four years with the New Zealand Rugby Union.
However, the 30-year-old has said he would not see out the contract if he felt he was no longer good enough to command a place in the team.