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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.