Wellington - All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is expected to announce his retirement this week, according to New Zealand media reports, a move that would confirm one of the worst-kept secrets in rugby.
New Zealand rugby chief executive Steve Tew has told journalists the record-breaking skipper and three-times world player of the year will be making a statement on his playing future "shortly".
Both the New Zealand Herald and Stuff websites speculated on Sunday that the retirement announcement would be made on Thurday.
McCaw, who led New Zealand to victory at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, had indicated earlier this year he would likely retire after the latest World Cup in England.
Tew, however, gave no indication whether the 34-year-old McCaw would decide to stay or go.
"He wanted to go into 2015 and enjoy playing the year without really worrying about whether everything he did was the last time he did it. He didn't want the team distracted by that and now he has asked for a little bit more time before finally making a decision and announcement," the New Zealand rugby boss said.
"He won't be too far away from getting to that point and if we give him a little more space and have a little more patience we'll all be rewarded with the ultimate answer shortly."
McCaw has played a world record 148 Tests, captained the All Blacks 111 times and has been on the winning side for a remarkable 88 percent of his internationals.
Of the 61 Tests he has played in New Zealand, McCaw has only lost twice.