Richie McCaw confirms he's staying in New Zealand

Getty Images     25 May 2011     Getty Images

The All Blacks' inspirational captain Richie McCaw has today confirmed that he has re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and the Crusaders Investec Super Rugby franchise, committing through until 2015.

The 30–year–old made the announcement at his Christchurch Rugby Football Club in Christchurch today and McCaw, who fronts the NZRU’s junior registration campaign, also took the time to hang out with a couple of Under 9 teams from the club.

McCaw said: “I’ve always said that as long as I am enjoying playing footy in New Zealand then I will stay, and the fact is I still am, so I’m pleased to confirm that I have re–signed with the NZRU for four more years.

“I still have the hunger and desire to continue to play for the All Blacks and the Crusaders and there are still things I want to achieve as a player.”

NZRU CEO Steve Tew said: “We are delighted to retain Richie for a further four years. He is an inspiration both on and off the field and as our most capped Test captain and All Black, he will provide New Zealand rugby and the All Blacks with a very solid foundation to approach the next four years from 2012.”

Tew, who is in London attending the IRB’s Economics of Rugby conference, said McCaw’s rugby knowledge was invaluable, not only on the field but in the wider sense as well.

“Our game faces some real challenges and Richie’s broader understanding of these and his commitment to the health of the game generally will be extremely important as we face those challenges.”

Tew also noted that McCaw’s on–field All Blacks partnership with Daniel Carter, who re–signed with the NZRU last week, was “a common denominator in much of the success” that has been achieved over the past seven years, with McCaw and Carter playing 51 Tests together for an 88 percent success rate.

“That alone shows how invaluable they are to New Zealand rugby so to have both players continuing with us for the next four years is fantastic news.”

Tew said that, as with Carter’s recently announced NZRU deal, McCaw also had the right to take a break from the game during the tenure of the contract.

McCaw’s agent Warren Alcock, from Essentially Group, added: “This contract, like Dan’s, is complex but it has been important to recognise their differences and ensure this contract reflects those. Having said that, the process of signing two players who are critically important to the All Blacks was made a lot easier by having both negotiations largely working in tandem. Ultimately, any contract needs to reflect Richie’s standing in the game and I’m confident this contract achieves that.”

All Blacks Coach Graham Henry said: “I have said this many times before: I think Richie McCaw is the most influential player in world rugby right now. His on–field impact is immense, he’s an outstanding player who leads and inspires others by his actions.

“Since taking over the captaincy, Richie has continued to develop as a leader and his personal standards, commitment and direction of others are inspirational to the All Blacks. He is a unique New Zealander,” Henry added.

Crusaders Coach Todd Blackadder said: “Richie has a massive influence on the Crusaders and All Blacks so for him to re-commit to these teams is fantastic. He’s a great player and an inspirational captain and I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Richie McCaw has been the standout flanker of his generation. He made his All Blacks Test debut in 2001 against Ireland aged just 20 and was Man of the Match. He now holds the joint record for All Blacks Tests (94) together with teammate Mils Muliaina, and has been on the winning side 83 times, the most by any All Black in history. He has captained the All Blacks Test side a record 57 times, leading the team to victory in 50 of those Tests for a staggering 87.7 percent success rate. Those victories included 13 wins in the All Blacks 14 Tests last year, with the team retaining the Bledisloe Cup, winning the Investec Tri Nations and completing a Grand Slam on the Telecom BackingBlack Northern Hemisphere Tour. Following the tour, he was named the IRB Player of the Year, the only player to have won the award three times, and also won the 2010 Halberg Awards Sportsman of the Year award.

McCaw also led Canterbury to provincial glory in 2004 and then took the Crusaders to back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2005 and 2006 and again in 2008. McCaw played his 100th game for the Crusaders last year and is sitting on 107 Super Rugby caps.

McCaw is the latest in a large group of current and recent All Blacks who have recommitted to New Zealand rugby after this year’s Rugby World Cup, including hookers Keven Mealamu and Hikawera Elliot, the All Blacks most capped prop Tony Woodcock and fellow prop Ben Franks, locks Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly and Sam Whitelock, loose forwards Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Daniel Braid, Liam Messam and Victor Vito, and backs Jimmy Cowan, Alby Mathewson, Daniel Carter, Colin Slade, Aaron Cruden, Conrad Smith, Benson Stanley, Israel Dagg and Ben Smith.

Richie McCaw

Born: 31 December 1980 in Oamaru, North Otago
Physical: 1.88m, 105kg
Position: Flanker
Province: Canterbury
Investec Super Rugby team: Crusaders
All Blacks Debut: 17 November 2001, vs Ireland in Dublin, aged 20.
All Blacks Tests: 94 (57 as Captain)
All Blacks Test Points: 95pts (19 tries)
All Black Number: 1014