Two-time Rugby World Cup-winning New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has announced his retirement from rugby union after 148 caps for his country.
McCaw confirmed his exit from the sport in a press conference on Thursday, with the decision meaning that the 34-17 victory over Australia at Twickenham in the recent Rugby World Cup final would be his last professional appearance.
Known for his peerless skills at the breakdown, a 20-year-old McCaw made his Test debut in 2001 despite having played just 17 games for club side Canterbury.
Speaking to the assembled media, he said: “Today, I thought about whether it was the right thing to do this. But I’m going to be hanging up my boots. My last game was for the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final two weeks ago.
“Deep down I didn’t want to shut the door totally. Even if that door was just open a little bit. It didn’t feel that final until now.
“Had the World Cup gone the way of us being beaten, I’d have wanted to make sure that went right.
“I wanted to make it about the team and not the individuals and make sure I’ve made the right decision. I sit here with no regrets as a rugby player. That last game as a rugby player was pretty satisfying.”
McCaw: “I really had no desire to [play overseas]…to go play rugby just to earn a fat cheque really didn’t spin my wheels”
— nzherald Sport (@nzheraldsport) November 18, 2015
There had been speculation that the All Blacks skipper planned to bow out of the game, although he was recently offered the chance to play the 2016 Super Rugby season with the Crusaders.
Rugby’s most-capped player, McCaw made history as both the first player to captain a side to back-to-back World Cup triumphs and also as one of just two players to be named IRB World Player of the Year on three occasions—alongside teammate Dan Carter.
The Otago native will now focus on a career as a commercial helicopter pilot as he pursues a life away from the rugby pitch.
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