Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Bionic Man

He’s been the ever present man in the All Black back No 7 jersey since he made his debut in 2001. He’s been, possibly, the best openside the world has ever seen and without doubt, Richie McCaw has been the player of the decade. In the December/January issue of NZ Rugby World GREGOR PAUL pays tribute to the All Black captain. Here's a snapshot of the Richie McCaw story so far.

Friday, 04 December 2009
Gregor Paul

Is selected for New Zealand Under 19s.

Makes his debut for Canterbury as a 19-year-old and also plays for New Zealand Under 21s.

Is selected again for New Zealand Under 21s and is also named Under 21 Player of the Year andIRB Newcomer of the Year.
Makes his All Black debut as 20-year-old against Ireland at Lansdowne Road in Dublin.

Is part of Crusaders team that wins the Super 12, becomes a regular All Black and is voted NPC Division One Player of the Year.

Plays in his first World Cup with the All Blacks and is the winner of the Kelvin Tremain Memorial trophy.

Is again the NPC Division One Player of the Year having been part of the Canterbury side that won the title.
At just 23 he captains the All Blacks against Wales in Cardiff when Tana Umaga is rested by the selectors.

Leads the Crusaders to the Super 14 title and is outstanding for the All Blacks against the British Lions.
Is asked to captain the All Blacks for a second time when they clash with Ireland at Lansdowne Road.

Takes over the captaincy full-time following the retirement of Umaga.
Leads his side to 12 wins from tests and is named both IRB Player of the Year and New Zealand Player of the Year.

Plays in every test leading into the World Cup and then scored the All Blacks’ first two tries of the campaign.
Becomes the fastest player to reach 50 test wins with the All Blacks.

Captains the Crusaders to another title but then injures his ankle in the June test series against England.
Recovers to play second half of the Tri Nations and lead New Zealand to their fourth consecutive title.

Leads an under powered Crusaders to the semi-finals but picks up an injury that keeps him out of the Iveco series.
Returns to action and in November he played his 46th test as captain.

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