It might be a tough challenge, but legendary skipper Richie McCaw is trying his hardest not to make Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final all about him – the All Blacks captain refusing to declare if the showpiece will be his last game for either his club or country.
McCaw’s place in New Zealand rugby folklore is already secure, but he can cement his place in the pantheon of All Blacks greats even further should he lead his side to victory over Australia.
The clash at Twickenham will bring up his 148th cap for New Zealand, and it is widely accepted that it will be his last.
But the 34-year-old is refusing to confirm whether he will hang up his boots, instead focussing on the job at hand of retaining the title he lifted four years ago.
“I haven’t announced anything really,” said McCaw, when asked if the World Cup final is his last game of professional rugby.
“I’ve purposely not got into that because I didn’t want to get all hung up on what could be.
“I have to make a decision when I get home. I’ve been told there’s a spot at the Crusaders if I really want it.
“I just want to play this weekend, and the tournament before that, the best that I can. You still play as though you’ve got years ahead.
“I’ve made no secret that I have to reflect after this, but I just have to get this week right.”
While McCaw is refusing to reveal his future plans, fellow All Black stalwarts Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Keven Mealamu have accepted that their finish line with the All Blacks will arrive on Saturday.
But McCaw is more focused on grabbing his own piece of history as he bids to become the first captain to win back-to-back Webb Ellis Cups.
“That’s what we’re here to do,” said McCaw of New Zealand’s trophy quest. “If at the end of six weeks you get that opportunity then that’s what you’re after.
“I haven’t allowed myself to think even one second past the final whistle. That allows in thoughts that are unhelpful for the game. If we do our best we’ll give ourselves an opportunity.
“If we get that performance right that will be something that would be pretty nice to do.”
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