James Mortimer 06.Jun.2012Getty Images
It is all about attitude says the 103-test All Blacks flanker.
This is a man who judges his players by how quickly they get up off the deck, and said that an uncompromising mental approach was needed if the All Blacks were to ‘get it right’.
While careful analysis shows that not all World Champions have “hangovers”, with the 1987 All Blacks and 1999 Wallabies notable exceptions, All Blacks selector and former first five-eighth Grant Fox said that the captain was wary of how other sides had performed after their World Cup successes.
The English and Springboks in 2003 and 2007 respectively and campaigns they would rather forget in their first full seasons as World Champions.
Fox said to Fairfax Media that maintaining the All Blacks overall legacy, and continuing the chapter written at the World Cup, was a massive priority for McCaw.
“Richie is very determined to make sure this team builds on the legacy of the World Cup," Fox, one of three selectors alongside Steve Hansen and Ian Foster, said.
"He's well aware of other teams not going so well afterwards and we all know how inspirational his leadership is."
McCaw said he would lead from the front, and that if he, the coaches and senior members of the team did their job, then any concept of a World Cup hangover wouldn’t be talked about.
"It comes down to the guys that lead it, the coach and the senior boys," McCaw said.
"If you have any sort of attitude that indicates maybe if we didn't do it right, it might be OK, that's where you're buggered. We've got to be on the job and get our attitudes dead right. We've got to make sure it's put behind us and it's what we do right now.
"Hopefully, if we get that attitude right from the start, it shouldn't even be worth talking about."