McCaw to miss S15 season

    2013-04-13 07:05

    Wellington - All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will miss the entire Super Rugby season as he continues his sabbatical with the aim of prolonging his career.

    The 32-year-old McCaw, a veteran of 116 Tests, will play for his Christchurch club side before making his return to internationals at a Rugby Championship Test against Australia on August 17.

    McCaw last played in New Zealand's 38-21 loss to England at Twickenham on December 2 and will have been out of top-level rugby for almost 10 months when he returns in August.

    His extended layoff is part of New Zealand's strategy to extend the careers of older players by reducing their workloads.

    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said McCaw decided not to rejoin the Crusaders this season because he didn't want to displace players who had served the team through the earlier part of the season.

    "He won't be there even if someone falls over," Hansen said. "That means there is no pressure on him to get back into training now."

    "I want him to stay away. He will be in good shape when he gets back, there is no way he would let himself go."

    McCaw invoked a clause in his contract after last year's England Test which allows him to take a sabbatical from rugby for rest and recuperation.

    Star flyhalf Dan Carter had previously used the sabbatical clause to play for six months with French club Perpignan, though that move ended in disaster when he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.

    Other senior All Blacks are also expected to take advantage of the sabbatical clause, which is designed to ensure enough experienced players are still playing by the time the next Rugby World Cup is held in 2015.

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