Wednesday, November 10, 2010

McCaw's captaincy growing as Richie and Mils approach record

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and fullback Mils Muliaina will if selected for the test against Scotland equal former hooker Sean Fitzpatrick's New Zealand record of 92 test caps.

McCaw, whose record as captain in terms of matches played and won is now at the top of New Zealand's list of legendary figures, said to the Scotsman that it was approriate that his record could be achieved in a country where both sides of his ancestry hail from.

"Both sides of my family are from Scotland, but I'm not one who gets carried away with where it's going to be. I'd just enjoy the fact of getting to that milestone," said McCaw to the Scotsman Sport."I played my second Test here in Edinburgh and I've got good memories of that."

McCaw's leadership also continues to grow, with the not easily impressed English media particularly observant in some exchanges that the All Blacks captain interacted with French referee Romain Poite.Most noteworthy was when England began to exert pressure on the All Black scrum.

McCaw took advantage of his opposite number Lewis Moody being down receiving treatment, and approached Poite to put forward a case that the home team was binding at the scrum incorrectly.

Poite repeated a well worn referee's mantra that he could only penalise what he could see, but moments later the Frenchman was seen talking to England tighthead Dan Cole, demonstrating with a few arm movements the 'art of binding' it seemed, almost as if the subconscious remark from McCaw had become fact.

The All Blacks captain also did the same when he was struck by Dylan Hartley.Although Keven Mealamu had allegedly committed the first offence with a incident with Lewis Moody, McCaw calmly went to Poite and asked if he had seen the English hooker hitting him.

Even when knowing that the All Blacks may have transgressed, the New Zealand openside flanker has a manner about him which makes referees listen.He said that adjustment was part of the job, reflecting on the differences in his pet area of the ruck.

"You know what you can and what you can't do these days. The tackler that was not getting up and causing slower ball isn't having the same influence that he used to," he said.

Whether or not McCaw will start is still to be confirmed, but with his parents staying in Carlisle, it would be fitting if they were on hand to witness their son draw equal with Fitzpatrick, in a year where he has overtaken the hooker with many landmarks.

McCaw may be rested or benched in the tour, with the All Blacks selectors no doubt keen to grow their options and backups at number seven, and he said he would fit in either way.

"I'm happy if that's the way the coaches want to go. They'll pick the best team for that week and will be weighing it up week to week. That's much better than having pre-planned ideas. But if I'm asked to play every week then I'm happy to do that, although it's not something I've asked to do" said McCaw.

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