Double World Cup winning captain Richie McCaw has officially confirmed that he has now retired from professional rugby. The most capped rugby player of all time explained his reasons at an emotional press conference in Wellington on Thursday.
McCaw started his incredible career in Dublin in 2001, then aged just 20, and picked up the Man of the Match award in that match, against Ireland.
He went on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup twice, as well as receiving countless other accolades.
“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.”
McCaw said he would now be concentrating on his business, personal sponsorship and charity interests. “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.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said of McCaw: “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,” the RWC winning coach added.
Richie McCaw Stats and Facts:
- McCaw retires on 148 Test caps, the most by any rugby player
- He achieved 131 Test wins, also a record. He lost just 15 times in his Test career
- McCaw was the first Test centurion, playing his 100th Test in the 2011 RWC, vs France
- He captained the All Blacks a record 110 times
- 145 Super Rugby caps with the Crusaders, winning the comp four times
- Under his captaincy the All Blacks won: Bledisloe Cup ten times | Four Tri Nations titles | Three Rugby Championships | Two Grand Slams | Two Rugby World Cups
- McCaw has played 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
- He was named World Rugby Player of the Year a record three times, in 2006, 2009 and 2010, and was nominated eight times, the first time in 2002
- 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
Here is a quick recap of the press conference, and below that you can view a full version that includes a moment of silence and acknowledgement of the tragic passing of his former teammate, Jonah Lomu.