Sunday, May 31, 2009

McCaw making 2011 is a big issue

By Dylan Cleaver / Photo: Brett Phibbs

Suddenly 2011 looks a long way away for the skipper.

His immediate future might have been determined by surgeon Dr Andrew Vincent but Richie McCaw and his NZRU paymasters need to come up with a long-term solution as to how best ensure the captain is a prime physical specimen come September 2011, not held together by sticky tape.

Make no (broken) bones about it, McCaw plays in the most high-impact position on the field and he has done so at the top level for the past eight years with a complete and utter lack of regard for his personal well-being.

Now is as good a time as any for him to stand back and chart a path to the 2011 World Cup.

That path might require him to step aside from some test match rugby.

We're not talking a soft-option Super 14 'sabbatical', but sitting out test matches to give his creaking body ample recovery time.

The thought is no doubt anathema to him, as it is to all the purists who believe the test jersey is sacrosanct.

Because his NZRU contract gives him scope to take a break, McCaw was asked whether he had given the matter any more thought in the wake of his stop-start 2009 campaign.

"To be honest, no," was the start of his reply.

Well, that might not be good enough. While he might brush off two knee injuries in a year as "bad luck", deep down he knows his body is starting to sing him songs that he doesn't want to hear.

There's the head knocks, the constant grinding of cartilage. McCaw might be a rugby Superman but he is not indestructible.

Graham Henry knows that as well as anybody. McCaw's absence is Henry's Gordian knot. The June tests might go some way to solving the problem.

If it remains no clearer whether the All Blacks can be as effective without the best No 7 in the world - and their captain no less - then intervention is required.

Whether anybody likes it or not.


Anonymous said...

As much as it hurts to admit it, the journo is right! Don't ge me wrong I hate it when Richie misses a game - especially when I go that game :) - but I'd rather see him fit to lead the ABs to victory at the World Cup in 2011. It might be worth skipping the end of the year tour and/or next year Super 14.


MaryL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
French Sydneysider said...

It's a long way away :).. and it will be up to Richie to decide, of course we'll have an opinion on that too :) Gliding tours in Omarama maybe??

Behind The Short Wall said...

I agree. I also really hate it when he misses a game but he needs the break. 2011 then play for the franchises. at least we'll get to see him still....

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