JonnyKing 02 December 2010
Breakfast time in NZ is supposed to be all about how many of a certain cereal one can manage... so we're advertised! While 3 may not be worthy of acclaim, when it is attached to the IRB International Player of the Year it is worth noting!
We in the Land of the Long White Cloud... increasingly forboding black... have known that we have a once in a generation player in the person of Richard Hugh McCaw which is increasingly being made explicit on a world sporting stage.
This morning, New Zealand time Richie McCaw was named IRB International Player of the Year for a 2nd Year in a Row and a 3rd overall... both realities setting new marks in the world of Union.
However, the fun did not finish with this number 7 as Graham Henry was named IRB International Coach of Year and the All Blacks were named IRB International Team of the Year. We also shouldn't forget Carla Hohepa who was named IRB International Women's Personality of the Year and Julian Savea who earlier in the year was named IRB Junior Player of the Year.
It is also believed that the IRB were thinking about naming an International Supporters/ Fan-Movement Award but decided that giving another New Zealand Team... BACKINGBLACK... an award was too much McCawesomeness for one night, but we are honoured nonetheless!
As you are all aware, we love Our Nation, Our Rugby and Our All Blacks which is why we want to celebrate the success of the individuals and the Team in All Black.
While there is no "i" in Team, there are two in "Richie" and he has been putting his personal mark on every Test of his 94 ever since he announced himself with a Man of the Match performance on the 17th November, 2001 against the Irish at Lansdowne Road.
I can still remember this International and my personal excitement levels, which are capable of elevation were ready, willing, and enabled after watching his audition at a lower level.
McCaw with head-gear [scrum-cap] on played like he was born for this pursuit. He announced to the world with this performance that another era of Open-side Rugby was on the horizon, taking on the role from Kronfeld who had carried the mantle from the ultimate athlete at 7 Michael Jones.
Since that time McCaw has grown as a player and as a Captain. The road has not been smooth as 03 and 07 can attest, but even before rising to ranks of his present position, when a young McCaw fronted the media at the Press Conference after that Semi-Final loss in Sydney, you knew he also had the stoned fruit from down South to lead this All Blacks team through travail and triumph.
On the very last day of 2010 Richie McCaw will turn 30!
He has been the player of the decade... without equivocation... In many respects he is the proto-type New Zealand rugby player as he brings so many of the personal Old Skool traits into a skill-set and game that is continually evolving, which is one reason why his popularity as a person and a player is cross-generational.
To 2011 and Beyond!
As a previous All Blacks Captain reminded us the sport of Rugby is not akin to Tiddlywinks and with McCaw's rugby abandonment, his body can only take so much more than a pounding. However, I am sure we all sincerely hope and desire that we see many more years of this man in an All Black jersey and on a world stage.
He has a date with destiny at Eden Park on 23rd October 2011 and should Will say "I Am" to our Richie, you can expect a 3-peat of this IRB award next year. In 2011 McCaw will hit 100 All Blacks Caps and barring mishap, will cross another new threshold in All Blacks rugby history.
Now for the Beyond!
I would love to see Richie McCaw make it to the 2015 World of Rugby Get-Together, Still Captaining the Team We Love [Winning Back-to-Back].
He will be some 34 years young, will have reached approx. 150 All Blacks Caps which could very well be a new World Record Number while also hitting 100 Caps as All Blacks Captain [He has 57 at present]. This will be a fitting finale to an All Black who will assume legend status and we will have the sporting joy of experiencing this all and passing this on!
All this is hypothetical and prospective and all Richie needs to consider in the coming days is how to seek some total rest from the rugby, but don't bet against the Man!
On a day in NZ when we have had our hearts and minds focused on remembering and memorialising the 29 of Pike River, this One Son of New Zealand shows the potential in the living of one's life. When unified the All Blacks show us what can happen when we join together, links arms in a common pursuit, making the juxtaposition of these two realities a sadly and tragically surreal reminder of what we are missing in our world and in a mine.
With All This in Mind, Let's Celebrate All Our Sons!
Until Next Time