Source: All Blacks
While World Cup winning coach Sir Graham Henry has been knighted for services for rugby, he wasn’t surprised a man he knew very well declined the honour.
New Zealand prime minister John Key formally approached Richie McCaw last year and asked if he would accept recognition from the New Year’s Honour’s List.
McCaw, who led the All Blacks to World Cup glory with an 8-7 victory over France to win New Zealand their second Webb Ellis Cup since claiming the maiden trophy in 1987, was widely expected to be acknowledged.
However he declined on the basis that he would be uncomfortable with an award or formal title, as one could imagine all and sundry hitting the All Blacks captain at the bottom of a ruck with little regard for his past deeds or titles.
“I do beg your pardon your highness, I mean Sir Richie,” opposing players could say without having to be too imaginative with their sledging.
Sir Graham believed eventually McCaw would be recognised.
"He is a young fella and he has a few years ahead of him playing rugby," he said.
"He will probably feel uncomfortable about that, particularly when he is captaining the side and is still playing rugby.
"But I am sure his time will come."
McCaw’s declining of the honour is typical of the great man, although it is not the only time he has knocked back royal overtures.
Prince William invited McCaw to his wedding, but the All Blacks captain turned it down saying it would be inappropriate as he had to focus on the Investec Super Rugby season and the then upcoming All Blacks World Cup campaign.