Thursday, July 19, 2007

McCaw, the strong silent (NZCity)

Richie McCaw feels he must be doing something right to get so much international criticism over his style of play

19 July 2007

Do not expect Richie McCaw to be reaching George Gregan levels of chat in this weekend's Bledisloe Cup decider at Eden Park.
McCaw's quiet leadership style has been questioned in recent weeks, especially after the loss to Australia in Melbourne.
Gregan is certainly set to open up another eighty minute dialogue with the referee on Saturday. However, while McCaw acknowledges that he might talk a little more, he says it would not be good to think the constant verbals are affecting the referee's decisions.
McCaw is adamant his calm and considered approach to referees is just as good as a Gregan onslaught and he would be disappointed if that had any impact on the calls made by the officials. He says for the All Blacks, too much talk means not enough work and he will not be opening the full throttle dialogue in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup decider.
McCaw admits payback is a huge motivator for the All Blacks this weekend.
He has chosen to ignore much of the criticism leveled at his play by both South Africa and the Wallabies over the last few weeks, and is taking the view that intimidation is merely the fondest form of flattery. The All Blacks skipper says when he heard it he thought he must be starting to play some decent rugby again and the criticism is just the way it is these days.
Instead he is just concentrating on leading his team to a Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup double at Eden Park He says it is not hard to fire up when memories of the MCG defeat are still fresh in the camp as the Wallabies took the game away from them in Melbourne and they are lucky to get a chance to avenge that and keep the silverware in New Zealand.
Meanwhile the cameo man Brendon Leonard is back on the bench and is looking to keep it simple in his first Bledisloe Cup test. He says he has to do what he did against South Africa and not try to force the game, but just clear the ball well. Leonard says he does not believe he is the All Blacks number two halfback, preferring to think of himself simply as the right man for the job.
Both sides train in Auckland today.
Nigel Owen of Wales will have the whistle at Eden Park - his first test with the All Blacks.

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