McCaw to take S15 sabbatical

2012-09-23 10:15

Christchurch - New Zealand captain Richie McCaw will miss next year's Super Rugby season and the All Blacks' June Tests while taking a sabbatical written into his contract, Crusaders' coach Todd Blackadder has told local media.

Crusaders skipper McCaw would lead the All Blacks on their end-of-season tour to Europe for tests against Scotland, Italy, Wales and England, but would then take a break from the game in a bid to prolong his career, Fairfax media quoted Blackadder as saying in comments published on Sunday.

"It is definitely going to happen," Blackadder said. "He will probably be available after June. He won't be available for the Tests or Super Rugby, so he's going to get a good break.

"We've worked this through with all parties and I fully support it.

"He had it written into his contract and he's elected to take it... It will freshen him up and he'll come back and be good for the next couple of years."

The 31-year-old McCaw's uncompromising play and fierce attack at the breakdown has taken its toll in recent years.

The openside flanker, regarded as one of the world's finest in the position, was sidelined for much of last year's Super Rugby competition and carried a painful foot injury into the All Blacks' successful bid for a second World Cup title in 2011.

After undergoing surgery, McCaw returned in April to lead the Crusaders into a semi-final appearance in the 2012 Super Rugby season and has returned to top form for the All Blacks in the current southern hemisphere Rugby Championship against Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

Like New Zealand flyhalf Dan Carter, McCaw extended his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) until 2015, with the option to take a sabbatical from the game offered as a sweetener for forgoing more lucrative contracts offered overseas.

New Zealand generally selects only NZRU-contracted players for the national side, effectively locking out players who head overseas to play in foreign leagues.

A Crusaders spokesperson said McCaw's sabbatical had been agreed in principle but the start date and the exact amount of time off had yet to be determined.

"Richie is smart enough to know what his body needs," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen told local reporters.

"If we want to get him through to the (2015) World Cup, it's a good idea. Super Rugby is a tough competition. For someone like Richie to step out of that, he obviously thinks it's pertinent, hence why it's in his contract."

McCaw will lead the All Blacks on tour to Argentina and South Africa as they seek to clinch the inaugural Rugby Championship trophy with a win over the Pumas in La Plata on Saturday.

The All Blacks close out their tournament against the Springboks in Johannesburg the following week before playing a Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane on October 20.

The world champions then head to Europe for November Tests against Scotland, Italy and Wales, before finishing the season-ending tour against England on December 1.


  • Jimmy NZ - 2012-09-23 10:57

    If anybody deserves a break it's McCawsome! Gotta love how he won't go overseas or is not lured by quick cash! A giant amongst men!

      liesure.larry - 2012-09-23 13:44

      No big loss... Maybe the Crusaders can win the S15 next season with him not there...

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-09-23 18:30

      Larry you spelt leisure wrong, it should be 'u r an dumb @ss' Idiot still!!!

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-09-23 18:31

      *a* dumb ass

      macziekpk - 2012-09-23 20:01

      Jimmy NZ huge failure at insulting people for their use of English

      macziekpk - 2012-09-23 20:02

      How funny if he gets injured in his return game - prolong the career classic

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-09-23 21:30

      I know right... kinda like the 3 time S14 winners the bulls getting relegated!! Nice one anyways lloyd!

      liesure.larry - 2012-09-24 13:51

      Jimmy old sheep shagger... like i said there was reason for the spelling but i will leave it there... Yes i guess i'm dumb... Just do my one favor and say FISH and CHIPS and not FASH and CHUPS....f'en dumb Kiwi's think they know everything in life....

  • - 2012-09-23 11:07

    Baie goeie en slim opsie deur n uitstekende speler. Vir my is McCaw uitstaande as speler en kaptein, en dis lekker om hom in aksie te sien. Dalk verbeter dit ons ander Super 15 spanne se kanse, maar rondom hom is daar nog 14 ander spelers.

  • lusciousville - 2012-09-23 12:17

    Now thats what u call "player management" and the fact that the All Blacks "only select local players " is what make them such a fierce unit.

      macziekpk - 2012-09-23 20:01

      No what makes them a fierce unit are the refs

      Caleb - 2012-09-24 02:57

      You are such a sour grape douche Macziekpk, you are the worst kind of supporter that cannot recognise quality sportsmen or sportsteams, pathetic. The stats speak for themselves, so once again lets blame the ref for Springboks being f'in useless!

  • moregareth - 2012-09-23 12:19

    Have New Zealand learned nothing from SA Rugby's mistakes? Sounds very similar to keeping John Smit around for too long. He should just end on a high!

      justin.hawthorne.750 - 2012-09-23 13:24

      Did you not witness McCaw's last performance?

      Rich.Dolgun - 2012-09-23 15:12

      Two problems there Gareth - McCaw isn't as selfish as Smit and the AB management aren't as stupid as PDV. McCaw will walk away when he knows its time - the guy is a machine and it wouldn't surprise me if he makes it to the next world cup. He is playing great rugby as we all saw in the last ABs test.

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-09-23 15:14

      Not really bro, big difference is that JS wasn't there on merit (Bizmarck is the best in the world) while McCaw is playing on merit and captain secondly! Watch who wins IRB player of the year...

  • michael.hendrickse.58 - 2012-09-23 17:25

    NZ Rugby thinking with their brains.........well opposed to with their wallets???? Im a Bok supporter but have strong admiration as how their unti administration is setup.

      gordon.smith.3158 - 2012-09-23 22:26

      True, maybe we can learn from them,

  • robert.j.allam - 2012-09-24 00:24

    Well done Richie you have become the benchmark for all number 7s in the World. You are so mentally strong as well as physically tough. You are without doubt the best number 7 the world has ever seen!. You will also become the best Captain that the All Blacks have ever had. I was immensely proud of how you handled the press conference after that Bulls idiot tried to take your head off you were so staunch yet so humble. 9 out of 10 rugby players in the world including South African players would have been moaning like crazy after that cheap shot. You just took it in our stride. A true leader in World rugby enjoy your break go fly some planes or helicopters as you love to do

      Rich.Dolgun - 2012-09-24 01:22

      Well said Robert. Couldn't agree with you more.

  • Caleb - 2012-09-24 03:01

    No big loss? Errr, Ok...only probably the most mentally tough player in world rugby.

  • emmett.gracie - 2012-09-24 12:57

    Slight error in the article - he'll get some Super Rugby as the plan is for him to return after the June test window. Just thoughtful management of a special case player really. Will be good for the ABs as well as it gives them a chance to take a look at what kind of Test Captain Kieran Read looks like - as he might well be doing the job come 2015

  • jaco.groenewald.731 - 2012-09-24 16:54

    Dis wragies fantasties van NZ, SARU vang bietjie n gr8 plan!!!!

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