Friday, July 03, 2009

McCaw from the sidelines
By DAVID LONG - Sunday News (28/06/09)

Richie McCaw missed the first three tests of the season through injury. In his first major interview since he was sidelined he shares his observations about the All Blacks start to the season with David Long.

Sunday News: How has it been for you this week in Christchurch?

Richie McCaw: It's good when the team are in your home, because you can take off home at night. I've been to all the trainings. I've started running now and that's working out pretty good.

SN: How have you found these three weeks?

RM: They've been frustrating because you want to be out there but I think if anything it's given me that real desire to be back out there on the field. I guess over these next three weeks I'll really be able to get some conditioning in and be ready to go. Sometimes injuries are annoying but I'm going to be fresh for a while because of it.

SN: Has it enabled you to get a different perspective on the All Blacks that you wouldn't have got otherwise.

RM: A bit. I've done a bit of work with the guys playing seven and all the loose forwards really. Sometimes you learn best when you're trying to help guys. I'm saying these things but I ask myself "do I actually do this myself?" So it's been really good in that regard. It was good seeing the guys doing well last weekend after helping them out and I got a wee bit of satisfaction out of that. But it's never easy when you'd like to be out there yourself. You've got to remove yourself from that. I knew I wouldn't be playing but I wanted to contribute somehow and hopefully I've done that.

SN: What were your emotions like after the first test against France, which the All Blacks lost? Were you as low as when you're playing when the All Blacks lose?

RM: It was disappointing for the guys. For the first game you know what it's going to be like when you're in a losing team. It's bloody frustrating.

I guess it was lucky because test matches are so often a one-off and you don't get a chance the next week. From my point of view, I just wanted to help as much as I could the following week. Sitting in the stands, you do feel powerless to help but I knew that just because of one game you're not bad rugby players or a bad team. You've just got to address the things that are wrong.

SN: What did you make of Tanerau Latimer's performance in the second test against France?

RM: I thought he had a really top game. He was in all the right spots. Our breakdown work was a lot better and he led that. He also got a couple of vital turnovers. When we were under a bit of pressure he managed to smuggle a couple of balls. All the loose forwards played well but what they did was a result of the whole team being more physical and getting more of an edge.

Ad Feedback SN: You said you're running again now. How will you be in three weeks' time when the All Blacks play the Wallabies?

RM: I've had a reasonable week of conditioning and next week I'll start contact. I've got three weeks until game timebut no matter what I do, I'll never feel real good in the first game and I'll just accept that. The thing I've learnt over time is that you just focus on the things you've got to do and make sure you do them well.

SN: Is there any likelihood you'll play a club game for Christchurch to get some match fitness?

RM: It's a possibility. I wouldn't like to promise too much to the club guys, but it's certainly not out of the question and it depends on how the training goes over the next week or so.

If I get a bit of contact and the knee is feeling good then I'll look at it, but I haven't really made a decision on that.

SN: With all the injuries there have been, how do you feel the All Blacks are going into the Tri-nations?

RM: We are going to have some guys coming back and some fresh guys, but they'll be some guys who haven't played much rugby like myself, Rodney and Andrew Hore. It's going to be a tough start. We've got Australia then two tests in South Africa, but I feel pretty confident with where we're at.

SN: How do you think Mils Muliaina has handled the captaincy?

RM: He's been awesome. Even with the way he's played he's led well, Mils has been right up there. He has shown what he's done with the Chiefs this year and he's brought it straight in here.

Thank you Rudy for the link!

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