Richard McCaw, or ‘Richie’ as he is widely known, is captain of the All Blacks and is generally recognised as the world’s best openside flanker.
McCaw reminded the world of his brilliance as a leader when he lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 2011, battling through a troubling foot injury to claim rugby’s greatest prize.
Treatment for his injury meant he missed the early stages of Investec Super Rugby in 2012 but he quickly made his presence felt when he rejoined his Crusaders teammates and again lead the way with both his work-rate and skill with ball in hand.
When not leading the team, McCaw is a keen pilot and in 2009 was made an honorary squadron leader of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
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.
The statistics on McCaw's career speak for themselves (to end of 2011 season):
• He is the most capped All Black ever (103).
• He has tasted victory 84 times in those 95 Tests for an amazing 88 percent success rate - the most by any other All Black.
• He has captained the All Blacks to 51 victories in 58 Tests.
• He has been IRB Player of the Year a record three times (2006, 2009, 2010)
McCaw was named as All Blacks captain for the first time for the Test against Wales in 2004 aged just 23.
He was brought up in North Otago and educated at Otago Boys High, where he played his rugby at No 8.
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 had an outstanding 2003 Rugby World Cup and won the New Zealand player of the year award at the 2003 (and 2006) Steinlager Rugby Awards.
McCaw led Canterbury to the NPC title in 2004 and then took the Crusaders to back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2005 and 2006 before assuming command of the national team.
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.
In 2008 McCaw would rebound from the disappointment of the World Cup to again lead the Crusaders to Super Rugby success, and then came back from injury early in the test season to lead the All Blacks to another Investec Tri Nations title and a Grand Slam of the Home Nations.
The following year he returned from injury for the Tri Nations and was prominent in matches against the Wallabies and again on the end of year tour, getting his second IRB World Player of the Year title.
In 2010, McCaw was again outstanding despite the new law interpretations which many believed would curtail the influence of the mercurial openside.
He lead the All Blacks to 13 victories in 14 Tests, with the team winning the Tri Nations and again achieving the Grand Slam.
17/11/2001 v Ireland at Dublin
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2000 v North Harbour
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2001 v Hurricanes
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• Received the IRB Newcomer of the Year Award in 2001.
• Air New Zealand NPC Division One Player of the Year, 2004 & 2002
• Kelvin Tremain Memorial Trophy for Player of the Year, 2003, 2006
• Under 21 Player of the Year, 2001
• Scored the All Blacks' first two tries of Rugby World Cup 2007, against Italy at Marseille.
• Received the 2006 IRB and NZRU Player of the Year Awards.
• Was the only All Blacks player to play in all seven of the team’s winter Tests in 2007 and the only All Black to start in 12 Tests in 2006.
• Is the 60th All Blacks Test captain. Named as All Blacks captain for the first time against Wales in 2004 at the age of just 23.