Richie McCaw set to draw level with Brian O’Driscoll

All Blacks captain will win 141st cap in tomorrow’s Rugby Championship match against Australia

New Zealand rugby captain Richie Mccaw: “I still remember back to when we didn’t have it and, put yourself in the Wallabies shoes, they will be desperate to get their hands on it.” Photograph: Getty Images

New Zealand rugby captain Richie Mccaw: “I still remember back to when we didn’t have it and, put yourself in the Wallabies shoes, they will be desperate to get their hands on it.” Photograph: Getty Images

 

Australia v New Zealand
Saturday, August 8th
11.05am Irish time (Sky Sports 3)

Despite achieving almost everything it is possible to achieve in rugby, the Bledisloe Cup still holds a special place in the heart of New Zealand’s Richie McCaw and he is not about to give it up lightly in what looks like being his final season.

A World Cup-winning captain and three-time World Player of the Year, McCaw will match Brian O’Driscoll’s record tally of 141 test caps when he takes to the field for Saturday’s Rugby Championship decider against Australia.

The 34-year-old’s career goes back so far that he can recall being part of a New Zealand side that lost the Bledisloe Cup series against Australia in 2002, the last time the Australians held the symbol of trans-Tasman Sea rivalry.

Since winning it back after a five-year drought in 2003, New Zealand have held on to the trophy while establishing a dominance of test rugby that saw them recently celebrate a decade on top of the world rankings.

“I would love nothing better than to keep the Bledisloe in the cupboard, absolutely,” explained on Friday.

“But it’s been like that every year. I still remember back to when we didn’t have it and, put yourself in the Wallabies shoes, they will be desperate to get their hands on it.

“That’s what makes a great occasion, is that it means so much for both teams.

“A few of us realise what it was like to not have it and the Wallabies are in that situation at the moment. But I never want to give it back. That’s the motivator every time. Whenever you do hang up the boots if we still have it, I’ll be pretty happy.”

McCaw, who made his test debut in 2001, said he remembered every single one of his 14 defeats in the famous black shirt and matching O’Driscoll’s record would only be a good memory if his performance was up to his own very high standards.

“The one thing I’ve always said is it’s not just about racking up the numbers, it’s what you do when you actually get on the field,” the flanker added.

“Each one, you put in the performance you need to give. With these numbers, it’s important that I play as well as I ever have. If I do that, I’ll certainly sit back with a smile on my face.”

As holders, New Zealand only need to win Saturday’s test against the Wallabies to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

The All Blacks will also go out to defend their World Cup title later this year, of course, and their captain thought the battle for places in the final party for England would be another motivating factor for some players on Saturday.

“I think we’re in a pretty good spot to be honest,” he said. “There’s a bit of edge about guys wanting to perform well to get into the squad.

“Saturday night is another good opportunity for them to do that.”

AUSTRALIA: 15 I Folau, 14 A Ashley-Cooper, 13 T Kuridrani, 12 M Giteau, 11 D Mitchell, 10 B Foley, 9 N Phipps, 8 D Pocock, 7 M Hooper, 6 S Fardy, 5 J Horwill, 4 D Mumm, 3 S Kepu, 2 S Moore (capt), 1 S Sio. Replacements: 16 T Polota-Nau, 17 J Slipper, 18 G Holmes, 19 W Skelton, 20 B McCalman, 21 N White, 22 M Toomua, 23 K Beale.

NEW ZEALAND: 15 B Smith, 14 N Milner-Skudder, 13 C Smith, 12 S B Williams, 11 J Savea, 10 D Carter, 9 A Smith, 8 K Read, 7 R McCaw (capt), 6 J Kaino, 5 L Romano, 4 B Retallick, 3 O Franks, 2 D Coles, 1 T Woodcock. Replacements: 16 C Taylor, 17 B Franks, 18 N Laulala, 19 S Whitelock, 20 S Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 B Barrett, 23 MFekitoa.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.