DAVID LONG - Sunday Star Times
Richie McCaw looks certain to stick with the All Blacks beyond next year's Rugby World Cup.
While many of his star team-mates are weighing up big offers from overseas clubs to cash in after the tournament, McCaw, 29, has broken his silence on his plans and says he wants to carry on captaining the team and bring through the next generation of great players.
"I'm having a really good think about it and I've always said enjoyment is the key," said McCaw, who was named IRB player of the year for the third time.
"Rugby is a passion for me but enjoying it is the key. I loved it this year, I loved running out for an international and playing for the All Blacks, there's nothing better.
"So I want to keep going. I'm talking to the union about what they want from me and what I want. If we can come to an agreement I'd love to carry on because I'm enjoying this.
"But I do have a bit to think about over the next wee while. I said I was going to do that on the tour but it didn't pan out like that and I think now that this is the right time," said the All Blacks skipper.
"I'm having a break, I'm getting refreshed about rugby and I'll start talking about it.
"I've made no secret of it that I love playing in New Zealand and my desires to play overseas have never been that great.
"Those desires change as you move on in your career, but you can't beat running out in front of 80,000 people at the Millennium Stadium or somewhere else and you'd be a mug to not want to do it for as long as you can."
It will be a very different All Blacks team after the RWC, not only will there be changes to the coaching team, with Wayne Smith already saying he'll move on after the tournament, there will be many senior players ending their time with the team.
It will be tough for the team to maintain their momentum with the backbone of the side gone, but McCaw wants to play a key role in establishing the next generation of experienced All Blacks.
"You never know what the coaches are going to do, there could be a new coach, who knows?" he said.
"I want to see the All Blacks keep performing after the world cup. It's not just about one game or one year. It's about doing it right and I want to make sure that when I move on, whenever that is, that it's at the right time."