McCaw targets 'perfect' season

2013-11-06 10:04
Richie McCaw (Gallo Images)
Paris - Richie McCaw is not just satisfied with having led New Zealand to their second World Cup trophy in 2011, he also told AFP he wants to be the skipper of the only All Blacks side that finished the year with a 100% win record.

The 32-year-old backrow forward - capped over 120 times since making his test debut in 2001 - hasn't played in all their games this year, sitting out the three Tests against France in June, but his team enter their final three Tests of 2013 with a record of played 11 won 11.

The last All Blacks side to go through a year unbeaten was the 1997 vintage, but despite 11 wins they were also held to a draw.

"I think the team wants to add to the legacy of the All Blacks," said McCaw, speaking in Paris ahead of Saturday's Test with France.

"We have achieved a lot of wonderful things in the past few years and this squad wants to add another thing to that list.

"To be the number one team is where we want to be at."

McCaw, though, said he and his team-mates were taking nothing for granted with their matches against the French, England, who trounced them at Twickenham last year, and the Irish, who they have never lost to.

"Of course we want to win every game and it would be nice to sit back in December having done so.

"What's the secret? Well it is a cliché really just taking every match as it comes each week and focussing on that and then once it is over and Monday swings round concentrating on the next game."

McCaw, who has won the world player of the year award a record three times, wasn't able to say whether this present All Blacks side was the best ever which French coach Philippe Saint-Andre believes it is.

McCaw was not certain whether it was better than the one that only narrowly beat France 8-7 in the 2011 World Cup final in New Zealand.

"Well this side is right up there, there is a depth of players with the experience of people like myself and lots of young talent coming through, who would all deserve to play a test on this tour, but with 36 players in the squad that is not possible.

"It is hard to know whether we are better than the 2011 team. There is definitely less experience in this squad, but it is equal in talent."

McCaw, who admitted he had never seriously thought of following several of his fellow All Blacks and playing in Europe, said that the All Blacks always seemed to perform well in France against the French, but past history played a role in motivating them that bit more than other tests on the tour.

"The trophy is named after Dave Gallaher (captain of the Originals side the first to bear the name the 'All Blacks' on the European tour of 1905/06 but who was later killed at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917) and that is pretty special for me and
the other players and we want to put up a performance that reflects that," said McCaw, who is due to visit the battlefield with the rest of the squad which always forms part of their visits to France.

McCaw said he expected a traditionally tough clash with the French at the Stade de France and even though they beat them in the June series he didn't take that as a marker.

"I am expecting a big challenge, expect it to be a physical battle as the French love their scrummaging," he said.

"Going on their third Test performance in June the way they put us under so much pressure showed they had made progress through the series, so we will have to be watchful."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  richie mccaw  |  rugby

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