Friday, October 29, 2010

McCaw demands improvement, despite potential milestones

More milestones potentially await All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who could become the most capped New Zealand test player of all time should he play in most games on his side’s tour to Hong Kong and Europe.

McCaw currently sits on 89 tests, with former captain Sean Fitzpatrick the most capped All Black with 92 appearances.The openside flanker has already this year passed the hooker as the most capped All Blacks captain with 52 tests, and has set a new mark for most wins as captain (now sitting on 46, with Fitzpatrick second on 39).The captain, who finished top amongst the All Blacks forwards in the traditional beep-test, appeared fit and declared himself ready to play in all test matches if need be.

There is also a feeling, as the International Rugby Board (IRB) will soon announce their shortlist for the 2010 World Player of the Year, that McCaw could personally register another record.The All Blacks captain won the award last season, becoming the first player to win the prestigious honour twice, and some feel that he is the leading candidate this year.For his team, there is the small matter of extending a consecutive run of wins, and perhaps setting a new world record.

Already sitting on ten straight wins against the Wallabies – breaking the mark set 63 years ago from 1936 to 1947 - McCaw and the All Blacks will attempt to set that mark to eleven, when they play each other in the fourth Bledisloe Cup test at Hong Kong.The Wallabies will hope that Coach Graham Henry does them a favour and rest McCaw from the October 30 clash, as the only time they have beaten the All Blacks in the last three seasons was when their captain was out injured.Victory against Australia would also be win number 16 in a row, en route to displacing Lithuania as the nation with most test wins on the trot.But McCaw has offered a stern warning to his troops, saying that the All Blacks didn’t match the heights late in the Investec Tri Nations they had set earlier in the year.

"We did some good things, but perhaps in the second half of the Tri-Nations we weren't as good as in the first half,” McCaw said to Fairfax Media.The All Blacks captain said that winning was paramount, but that improvement was necessary to stay ahead of the pack.

"From a performance point of view, obviously winning is key, but how do you do that?” McCaw said.“Well, you perform." "I'd be disappointed if we haven't improved on what we've done so far this year. "I'd like to think that after the five tests we're having consistent performances, but we are better than where we've been at. "Also that all the guys who've taken to the field have contributed to that. That's how you mark yourself and if we can do that there's no reason why we can't win all the games."

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