Monday, June 18, 2007

Mccaw fulfils destiny as All Black captain (ODT May 13, 2006)

Frosty mornings on the Kurow Domain and muddy boots at Littlebourne helped form the character of the new All Black captain.

From his early days in the Hakataramea Valley, McCaw won admirers for his character and rugby ability.
Chris Linwood was the captain of the all-conquering Kurow junior team that lost just two games in 5 years and featured McCaw.

"Often, Richie would be our entire loose forward trio, because being from a small country place we were often two or three players short", Linwood said from Auckland, where he works as a lawyer. "He was good enough for three players and we were still generally too good for the town teams. Richie was good, very good at that age, but you would never have thought he was to going to become such a great All Balck."

While Linwood went on to captain Waitaki Boys HS, Mccaw travelled the 150km to Dunedin to embark on boarding life at secondary school.

At Otago Boys HS, which McCaw attended from 1994 to 1998, the seeds were really sown for one of the gerat rugby careers. He was Richard Mccaw back then, a quietly-spoken son of North Otago farmers. In school photos, he is entirely unremarkable. There is nothing about hisphysical attributes or any sort of intangible presence that suggests ha is bound for greatness. His ordinariness is striking.

Still, his teachers knew the boy was a bit special. Senior master Bill Trewern, ever the astute judge of character, quickly noticed McCaw wa more than just an aspriring rugby star.

"Right from the outset, he looked every bit a leader. He was mature beyond his years and very popular and weel respected," Mr Trewern recalled. "I would call him the complete person."

Mr Trewern pointed to McCaw's marvellous schoold record and glittering academic results as evidence Otago Boys did its bit to produce a rounded young man.

McCaw was named top allround sportsman in his final year -he wwas a First XI cricketer in the summer- and was named approxime accessit to dux, earning four scholarship passes and an A under the old Bursary system, studying accounting, chemistryn physics, statistics and calculus. He was head boy and head of School House, the boarding hostel.
After progressing steadily through the rugby ranks, ans being named most promising player in 1997, McCaw really came to life in his final year at school when his star on the open-side flanke began to shine?

He was a dominant figure in the Otago Boys team that shared the national title, drawing 5-5 with Rotorua Boys. McCaw scored a try for his team, and present Otago captain Craig Newby scored for Rotorua Boys.
But there would be disappointment when Mccaw did not make the NZ Schools team, losing out to former Otago flanker Sam Harding, new AB Angus McDonald and Highlanders loose forward Hale T-Pole (then Tu'uhoko).
OB Team-mate Mark McGregor suspects the omission only served the make McCaw more determined to make it to the top.

"Harding was a tank, a really solid guy at school, and everyone thought he was going to be the next big AB", McGregor said. "Richie was always behing him but that didn't last."
McGregor said he was always struck by McCaw's tireless training? He would leave the hostel early most days to run?
Then OB coach Brian Ashwin confirms McCaw was a remarkably dedicated trainer and a committed team man, while on the field his ability to sniff out the ball and get team-mates to follow him was unparalleled. But he still did not make McCaw his captain.
"Richie was considered", Ashwin said. "But we felt he just had so many other commitments that year being head boy and studying hard."
Ashwin's captain was Ryan martin, then as now a vocal, combative halfback. He remembers McCaw, a skinny fifth-former, being picked to make his First XV debut.
"He turned up and a lot of the older guys were kind of wondering who the kid was," Martin said from Balclutha, to which he comutes to teach. "Richie played outstandingly well and was pretty humble. From that point of time, people started to take notice."
McCaw's work ethic shone through his studies, when he would compile dozen of pages on notes on one subject, Martin recalled. He scored 100% in more than one exam. In his final year at school, McCaw matured and "the girls began to take a bit of notice." He flowered, socially, Martin said.
Other prominent rugby names in the 1998 OB team were Highlanders Filipo Levu and Jason Kawau, North Otago hooker Siloa Vaisola, Olympic rower Carl Meyer, and former national decathlon champion Scott McLaren.

Ashwin has no doubts McCaw, who regularly visits his old school and former teachers, will make a fine AB captain?
"Oh, he'll be absolutely outstanding. He'll just be Richie."

Un esprit sain dans un corps sain.

Voici l'histoire de l'ado Richie McCaw : parents fermiers, internat a l'age de 14 ans, un gamin qui fait son boulot (il etait quelque fois le seul joueur en 3eme ligne de l'equipe de son pti village -mais bon, un Richie Mccaw, ca vaut bien 3 joueurs!), qui ne se fait pas trop remarque jusqu'au jour ou paf! il surpasse le maitre de l'epoque et fout les petoches aux plus vieux qui se demandent "Qui est ce gamin?"

La legende raconte que les filles ne l'ont "decouvert" que sur le tard (eh oui, comme le bon vin, Richie se bonifie avec l'age ...). Mais le Pti Richard de la valle d'Hakataramea est reste le meme : quand il passe dans le coin, il va saluer ses profs au college/lycee de Dunedin...

Good boy!

Thanks a lot to Izzy for sending the article. We really needed a Local Spy here ;)

No comments: