Cape Town - New Zealand loose forward Richie McCaw has
confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby.
The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black
of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which
started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last
month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time.
McCaw announced his decision at a media conference at the
New Zealand Rugby offices in Wellington on Thursday.
"I'm hanging up my boots having accomplished everything
I could have ever dreamed about in the game. Knowing that I was able to end my
career by helping the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup final is a hugely
satisfying feeling," he told the All Blacks’ official website.
"Professional rugby has been great to me. It's allowed
me to pursue my passion, to be involved with great people, hopefully make those
close to me proud and travel the world. I've had some wonderful experiences for
which I'm very grateful and I'd like to thank New Zealand Rugby for the
opportunities they have given me.
"The support and encouragement from my family and
friends has been huge throughout my career and I want to thank them. Mum and
Dad haven't missed many of my games and I thank them, Gemma and the rest of my
family for everything they have done.
"I've also been really fortunate to have had some great
coaches and played with some outstanding players over the years, from my
teenage years through to Canterbury, the Crusaders and the All Blacks. I'd like
to thank them too for all they have done for me throughout my career.
"I'd also like to thank the fans who have supported me,
both here and overseas. Your unwavering and passionate support for myself and
the other players has always given us a huge lift, wherever we have played. We
play the game to make you proud and I hope I have managed to do that over the
McCaw said he would now be concentrating on his business,
personal sponsorship and charity interests.
"I am heavily involved in the Christchurch Helicopters
company, they are great people and I'm excited about the opportunities there.
Aviation is something I'm passionate about, I'm going to carry on flying and
work towards getting my commercial pilot licence.
"The iSport Foundation charity, which I set up with Dan
Carter and Ali Williams, also gives us the opportunity to help talented
teenagers reach their potential in their chosen sport, which is a cool way for
us to give back.
"I'm now really excited about starting the next chapter
of my life. I'm looking forward to the future and what it may hold."
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew has
congratulated McCaw on his stellar career.
"Richie has been the most influential player of his
generation, if not of all time. His playing statistics tell the story, but
Richie has also made a very significant contribution off the field as well, in
his decade-plus career in New Zealand rugby.
"He cares greatly about the whole game and everyone
involved in it. As an example, he was involved heavily in the collective
bargaining process on behalf of the country's professional players to ensure
their interests were looked after. He's been a sounding board for numerous
players, coaches, administrators and others involved in this great game of
"We wish him well in his retirement and the next phase
of his life and while he's hanging up his boots, we know he'll stay involved in
rugby one way or another in the future."