Cape Town - Legendary former All Black captain Richie McCaw says the 2009 Springboks were the best team he ever faced in international rugby.
The 35-year-old retired after leading New Zealand to a successful defence of their Rugby World Cup title in England last year.
He played 148 Tests for the All Blacks between 2001 and 2015.
Speaking at a launch as an AIG ambassador in Dublin earlier this week, McCaw singled out Peter de Villiers’s 2009 Springboks as the best team he faced.
In 2009, South Africa defeated the All Blacks on three occasions to win the Tri Nations. The Springboks also defeated the British and Irish Lions in a home series that year.
According to Netwerk24, McCaw said: “It was tough in 2009 when we lost three times in a row to the Boks.
“The two defeats in South Africa was maybe a good lesson - we went back home and felt we would beat them there.
“Then we lost in Hamilton. But it was the moment that got us on the right track for 2011’s World Cup, but there were still lots of questions regarding coaching and players.”
McCaw faced the Springbok in 26 Tests and boasts a 76.92% win-ratio. It is, however, his worst record against all Test nations.