Sept 6th, 2010.
Auckland - All Blacks flank Richie McCaw will become the most capped New Zealand Test captain of all time, when he likely leads his side out against the Wallabies this weekend for the 52nd time.
McCaw equalled Sean Fitzpatrick’s record in Soweto when the All Blacks defeated the Springboks 29-22, drawing level with the former hookers 51 Tests as captain.Fitzpatrick has already donned his hat to the current captain.
"Richie has been an outstanding captain and there is no better person to captain the All Blacks. I think he's very comfortable with his position and he's playing the best rugby of his career. He has a great feeling for his team and Richie is respected by the whole team and the whole of New Zealand," Fitzpatrick said.
But Graham Henry has joined in on the praise, saying that his captain was the outstanding player in world rugby.
“He is the most influential player in the world right now,” Henry said, according to the allblacks.com website.
McCaw has also this year set a new All Blacks record of playing in the winning side on 76 occasions (in 86 Test matches), and it would not be surprising if he was nominated again for the International Rugby Board’s player of the year.He was won the award twice already, more than any other player.
In a year where many expected his influence to be dulled with the new law interpretation hyped to limit the impact of the defensive team at the ruck – and hence the openside flank – McCaw has continued to grow his game to another level.
“He has been outstanding,” Henry said.“I can remember Fitzy (Sean Fitzpatrick) who was probably our last great captain ... he grew into the job. He wasn't the bees knees straight away but in the latter part of his career he was a colossus as a leader and everybody around the world had their opinions about Fitzy because he was so successful.”
“I think the same is happening with Richie.”
“His influence on this group of people this year has been astronomical not only as a player but as a leader.”