Thursday, July 29, 2010

McCaw has no plans to change his style
By RICHARD KNOWLER in Melbourne - The Press

The Springboks' froth-flecked rants will not force Richie McCaw to go gun-shy at the breakdown.

Despite admitting he deserved to get penalised a couple of times in the 31-17 win over the Springboks in Wellington on July 17, All Blacks captain and openside flanker McCaw has vowed to make referee Craig Joubert earn his dosh against the Wallabies at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers and captain John Smit could hardly contain their frustration after their loss to the All Blacks 11 days ago, with both making thinly veiled accusations towards McCaw after he survived repeated warnings from referee Alain Rolland.

But for McCaw, who will play his 86th test in Melbourne, it will be business as usual in the Bledisloe Cup opener and he reckons he cannot afford to worry about the South Africans' complaints prejudicing the officials' rulings.

"A couple of times I got it wrong, there's a couple I would probably debate. I think the big thing is to understand where you sit, and what you are going to get away with and what you are not.

"I got it wrong a couple of times, no doubt."

For the 29-year-old, riding the boundaries of the ruck law are just part of his trade and he was unapologetic: "As long as I am not putting my team under heaps of pressure, you still have to be at the point of knowing what you can get away with and what you can't. And the odd time, you might get it wrong.

"I think I gave away four penalties, it might have even been five last week. There were a couple of them that I was disappointed with."

McCaw has become the master of the art of judging the referee's mood early in the match, and his contest on the ground against Wallabies No7 David Pocock will be one of the highlights for many purists.

Just as they fingered McCaw for slowing the ball down, the Springboks went ballistic about the impact Pocock had on the breakdown following their defeat by the Aussies in Brisbane last weekend.

Like any match, McCaw will meet the referee before the test to get a feel for what he expects.

"I like to have a yarn to them in the shed before the game and what they have seen previously and if they have got any concerns. Hopefully, they will tell me if they think I am getting it all wrong."

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has made just two personnel changes to his starting side from last weekend, with Berrick Barnes coming in at second five-eighth and Matt Giteau shuffling in one spot to replace the suspended Quade Cooper.

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