Sportal.co.nz 25.Aug.2012Getty Images
But while he may have had sufficient contests with Australian rival David Pocock to know what to expect of him, Pocock's absence has thrown a newcomer into the mix and the bad news for Michael Hooper is that McCaw will not be looking to be upstaged by the Australian newcomer in Saturday's second Bledisloe Cup Test, at Eden Park.
"I'm pretty impressed with the way he goes about things especially the game I saw he had against the Hurricanes where he had a particularly good game.
"From our point of view it [his selection] won't change a lot. He's very good at the breakdown and he's quite good around the park as well," he said.
Quade Cooper might have been recalled but he wouldn't be receiving any special attention as all the backs needed to be denied front foot ball, he said.
"He's certainly got the ability if he gets a bit of space and time, he can cut anyone up so we've got to make sure we deny that and hopefully he doesn't have a very good day," he said.
McCaw said there had been a realisation all week that there were quite a few areas to improve on from the opening match and the team had gone about their work very well.
"Both teams have got their challenges after last week. We certainly did some things right but we made a lot of mistakes at crucial times. We've been putting a lot of focus on us dealing with it," he said.
Having played under Australia's coach Robbie Deans with the Crusaders, McCaw said Deans was at his best when the pressure was on.
"A week's a long time in this sport and we have seen many occasions in the last wee while where what you expect doesn't happen because a team is on edge and we've got to make sure our guys... just because we got home on the scoreboard it doesn't mean much when kick-off comes tomorrow night. That's what we've been driving and we've got to make sure we get a better performance," he said.
McCaw said he would be disappointed if the All Blacks didn't manage a significant improvement.
"You put the scoreboard to the side and look at how we perform and you realise that they're going to be up for it but we're a bunch of guys here who will hopefully be the same," he said.
McCaw needed only to think back to the Ireland Steinlager Series and the turnaround between the first and second Tests to appreciate the change that could come over a determined side and New Zealand were wanting to avoid a repeat of that occurrence where they scrambled to a late win courtesy of a Dan Carter dropped goal.
"What it does do is realise they will be ready and we have got to be as well," he said.