McCaw the greatest ever?

2015-08-15 13:52
Richie McCaw (Getty)

Auckland - Richie McCaw and five of his team-mates enjoyed the perfect end to their home test careers as they celebrated the captain's world-record test appearance with an emphatic second-half performance to retain the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday.

The All Blacks, angry at being beaten 27-19 last week in Sydney, hammered Australia 41-13 at Eden Park in Auckland to send the team off to the World Cup with the cheers of almost 50,000 rabid fans ringing in their ears.

McCaw, Dan Carter, Tony Woodcock, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Keven Mealamu have formed the backbone of the All Blacks sides that have dominated world rugby over the past decade.

All six are heading overseas or into retirement after the global showpiece and they were treated to a rare display of emotion by the normally stoic New Zealand crowd at the conclusion of the game.

McCaw was given a standing ovation when he was substituted in the second half, a rarity in itself, while thousands remained behind to applaud the team as they paraded the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy around the ground.

The 34-year-old McCaw was presented with a specially embroidered jersey by coach Steve Hansen to mark his 142nd Test, surpassing the record he had held with former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll.

"He's just an ordinary bloke from Kurow but by god he can do extraordinary things," an emotional Hansen said before presenting the jersey. "He's a champion.

"He's probably been our greatest All Black in modern times, if not ever and we have had some great, great, great All Blacks."

McCaw, who has captained the side a world record 106 times, reflected on the excitement he still gets from pulling on the All Blacks jersey after 14 years in the team.

"The first day I pulled on this jersey I didn't' want to let it down," he said. "I wanted to add to the legacy.

"That was the goal again tonight of putting on the jersey, add something to it and leave something of yourself in it.

"I'm so grateful to have done it for so many years. I have loved every minute of it."

The self-effacing McCaw also paid tribute to his team mates who were playing their last tests on Eden Park.

"They're absolute champions. The jersey means a hell of a lot but it's the people who fill it up who are the ones you put in all that energy for," he added.

"Those men have all given a huge amount over the years and I think a lot of the success has come from their talents.

"I've been so lucky to have them side by side and to have gone through the good times and tough times.

"Those men have done their country proud."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  richie mccaw  |  rugby

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