Sunday, May 21, 2006

About Richie!!! Number 7 forever!

Richard McCaw, or ‘Richie’ as he is widely known, is a key figure for the All Blacks and is generally recognised as one of the world’s pre-eminent openside flankers. 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 tear-away’s linking role to superb effect. McCaw was named as All Blacks captain for the first time for the Test against Wales in 2004 at just 23-years-old.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. After playing No 8 at Otago Boys High School, he graduated through the New Zealand age grade system playing in the world champion Under 19 and Under 21 national teams before stepping up to the All Blacks at the tail end of the 2001 season.McCaw is the 2006 Crusaders captain and will no doubt be eager to lift his second championship trophy as the skipper (after beating the Waratahs in last year’s final) and will earn his 50th Super 14 cap in the process.McCaw was brought up in North Otago and educated in Dunedin prior to settling in Christchurch. He backed up the promising start to his Test career on the tour of Ireland, Scotland and Argentina in 2001 by being one of the All Blacks best in the last two Philips Tri Nations successes. Had an outstanding 2003 Rugby World Cup and won the New Zealand player of the year award at the 2003 Steinlager Rugby Awards. He was also a player of the year finalist in both the International Rugby Players Association and IRB awards in 2003 and again for the IRB in 2005.


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