With 15 days to go to the Rugby World Cup, a lot of attention is being focussed on this man: Richie McCaw the captain of the New Zealand All Blacks. Will Richie be holding the World Cup aloft on 20 October in Paris ?
Richard McCaw, or ‘Richie’ as he is widely known, is a key figure for the All Blacks and is generally recognised as the world’s best openside flanker. McCaw has the size and strength to be a punishing defender, the cool head and quick hands required to master the breakdown area, and the speed and handling skills to play a traditional tearaway’s linking role to superb effect. McCaw was named as All Blacks captain for the first time for the Test against Wales in 2004 aged just 23. He led the side in 12 Tests in 2006.He was sidelined for the middle part of 2004 with a head injury, but came back mid-way through the Air New Zealand NPC to captain the Canterbury side to a stunning final victory over Wellington. He earned the Air New Zealand NPC Division One Player of the Year for his effort.A tireless worker who reads the game well, McCaw was voted as Newcomer of the Year by the International Rugby Players Association in 2002. He was brought up in North Otago and educated at Otago Boys High, where he played his rugby at No 8. Had an outstanding 2003 Rugby World Cup and won the New Zealand player of the year award at the 2006 and 2003 Steinlager Rugby Awards. He was awarded the IRB Player of the Year award in 2006 after being a finalist in both the International Rugby Players Association and IRB awards in 2003 and again for the IRB in 2005.McCaw led Canterbury to the NPC title in 2004 and then took the Crusaders to back-to-back Super 14 titles in 2005 and 2006 before assuming command of the national team.