HANGOVER? What Rugby World Cup hangover? Richie McCaw has shunned any talk of last year's tournament slowing him down, feels as if he could have played rugby a month ago and the ensuing four weeks watching his colleagues in the trenches have piqued his motivation levels.
If McCaw comes through training tomorrow he will be named in the Crusaders' 22 to play the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday.
Life has been ''pretty mad'' for him during the past six months, with his focus only returning to matters rugby in the past month.
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''You know you are ready to go again when you start imagining what you would do in certain situations and I have found myself doing that over the last month while watching the TV, imagining how I would have tried to tackle a bloke in certain situations,'' McCaw said.
''I do not think you will see massive changes in my game this year, but I am always trying to get better and there are certain things happening in the game that mean I will have to evolve, for example how I defend. There's a much more team approach to turning over ball, so I will have to adjust and get better at that.''
McCaw is a master at reinventing himself. From young tyro, master fetcher, marked man, emerging captain and ball runner, the 31-year-old is now at an interesting crossroads.
''Plenty of players do not reach their peak until their 30s and I would like to think I am one of them,'' he said. ''My body is as fit and fast as it has ever been, maybe not right now, but it will be in a few weeks. And I feel good mentally now that there are some great challenges ahead.''
Meanwhile, the ACT Brumbies will have a new captain when they attempt to end their South African tour on a high as Ben Mowen battles a persistent neck injury.
He has not trained for the past two days in the lead up to the Lions match this weekend.
Brumbies coach Jake White will name his team tomorrow and it is expected vice-captain Stephen Moore will be given the captaincy duties.