Richie McCaw retires from rugby
New Zealand Rugby pays tribute
Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby.
The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time.
McCaw announced his decision at a media conference at the New Zealand Rugby offices in Wellington today.
“I’m hanging up my boots having accomplished everything I could have ever dreamed about in the game. Knowing that I was able to end my career by helping the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup Final is a hugely satisfying feeling,” he said.
“Professional rugby has been great to me. It’s allowed me to pursue my passion, to be involved with great people, hopefully make those close to me proud and travel the world. I’ve had some wonderful experiences for which I’m very grateful and I’d like to thank New Zealand Rugby for the opportunities they have given me.
“The support and encouragement from my family and friends has been huge throughout my career and I want to thank them. Mum and Dad haven’t missed many of my games and I thank them, Gemma and the rest of my family for everything they have done.
“I’ve also been really fortunate to have had some great coaches and played with some outstanding players over the years, from my teenage years through to Canterbury, the Crusaders and the All Blacks. I’d like to thank them too for all they have done for me throughout my career.
“I’d also like to thank the fans who have supported me, both here and overseas. Your unwavering and passionate support for myself and the other players has always given us a huge lift, wherever we have played. We play the game to make you proud and I hope I have managed to do that over the years.”
McCaw said he would now be concentrating on his business, personal sponsorship and charity interests.
“I am heavily involved in the Christchurch Helicopters company, they are great people and I’m excited about the opportunities there. Aviation is something I’m passionate about, I’m going to carry on flying and work towards getting my commercial pilot licence.
“The iSport Foundation charity, which I set up with Dan Carter and Ali Williams, also gives us the opportunity to help talented teenagers reach their potential in their chosen sport, which is a cool way for us to give back.
“I’m now really excited about starting the next chapter of my life. I’m looking forward to the future and what it may hold.”
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew has congratulated McCaw on his stellar career.
“Richie has been the most influential player of his generation, if not of all time. His playing statistics tell the story, but Richie has also made a very significant contribution off the field as well, in his decade-plus career in New Zealand rugby.
“He cares greatly about the whole game and everyone involved in it. As an example, he was involved heavily in the collective bargaining process on behalf of the country’s professional players to ensure their interests were looked after. He’s been a sounding board for numerous players, coaches, administrators and others involved in this great game of ours.
“We wish him well in his retirement and the next phase of his life and while he’s hanging up his boots, we know he’ll stay involved in rugby one way or another in the future.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen added: “On behalf of the All Blacks, we want to congratulate Richie on everything he has achieved in his career. All this success couldn’t have happened to a better bloke and we wish him all the very best for the future.
“In my opinion, he will go down not only as the greatest All Black of all time, but the greatest captain we have ever had and possibly the greatest player to have ever played the game in the modern era.
“To play 148 Tests is something to be marveled at on its own, particularly with the physical demands of the position he plays. But the more impressive thing about those 148 games is the quality of the performances he produced. Having been involved in the majority of those Test matches, I can’t recall him ever playing a bad game.
“His ability as a leader will be something he will be remembered for. Leadership doesn’t come to anyone naturally, it’s a learned skill. After the adversity of 2007 and the criticism that came with that, Richie’s mental toughness and desire to improve really shone through. It’s those qualities that have made him, in my view, the greatest leader of the All Blacks of all time.
“He’s been an inspiration to us all. Not only has he enhanced the jersey during his time, but he has left a lasting legacy that will be talked about by many people long after we’re all gone. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have shared the road with him.”
Richie McCaw – facts and stats
- Born on 31st December 1980 in Oamaru to parents Margaret and Donald, Richard Hugh McCaw was raised in the small North Otago town of Kurow before heading to Dunedin to board at Otago Boys’ High School.
- In 1999 he moved to Christchurch to further his rugby career and study at Lincoln University and was selected in the New Zealand Under 19 team.
- In 2000 he played for the New Zealand Under 21 team and made his provincial debut for Canterbury.
- He made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2001 and played 145 times for the team through to 2015. The team won the Super Rugby competition four times during his career.
- He made his Test debut on 17 November 2001 against Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, aged 20, becoming All Black number 1014. He was named man of the match. His last Test was the victorious RWC2015 Final in London.
- McCaw retires having played 148 Test matches, the most by any player in rugby history.
- He recorded 131 Test wins in those 148 Tests, a world record. He experienced Test defeat just 15 times.
- McCaw was the first All Blacks Test centurion, playing his 100th Test in the Pool Play match against France in RWC2011.
- He first captained the All Blacks against Wales on 20 November 2004 becoming the 60th All Blacks Test captain.
- He went on to captain the team in 110 Tests, a world record.
- Under his captaincy, the All Blacks won the Bledisloe Cup ten times, as well as four Tri Nations titles, three Investec Rugby Championships, two Grand Slams and two Rugby World Cups.
- McCaw has played a staggering 27 percent of the All Blacks total 538 Test matches played since 1903.
- He played 61 times on New Zealand soil, losing just two Tests.
- McCaw scored 27 tries in his Test career for tally of 135 points, the most by an All Blacks forward and putting him 23rd on the All Blacks Test-scoring list.
- McCaw played just one non-Test for the All Blacks – against the Barbarians in 2009.
- He was named World Rugby Player of the Year a record three times in 2006, 2009 and 2010 and was nominated for the award eight times, the first time in 2002.
- He was also awarded the Kelvin R. Tremain Memorial Trophy as New Zealand Player of the Year four times (2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012) and won the Halberg Award for New Zealand Sportsman of the Year twice in 2010 and 2011.
- McCaw played against 18 different international teams, with his 37 Tests against Australia the most by one player against another international side.
- He released his autobiography, The Open Side, in 2012 and it is believed to be the best-selling rugby autobiography of all time, with sales in excess of 120,000.