All Black captain Richie McCaw has announced his retirement from rugby.
The All Blacks’ website lists 12 key dates in his career:
August 18, 2000
Debuted for Canterbury against North Harbour when coming off the bench for his only 18 minutes of first-class play that season. . . .
November 17 2001
Made his All Blacks debut at Lansdowne Road in Dublin against Ireland. New Zealand won 40-29 after being down 7-16 at halftime. . .
August 10, 2002
In hindsight, this was possibly the first moment where it was identified that McCaw brought a little more to rugby than his openside flanker skills. . .
May 28, 2005
With the added responsibility of captaining the Crusaders, McCaw’s portfolio was widening and he led the side to the Super Rugby title when beating the Waratahs 35-25. . .
October 6, 2007
If there was a low point in McCaw’s career this had to be it. A quarter-final exit at the hands of France in Cardiff, beaten 18-20. . .
August 16, 2008
So often McCaw’s play has been encapsulated in the performance of his team. In 2008, after losses at home to South Africa (28-30) and away to Australia (19-34) when he didn’t appear in either, he returned to inspire New Zealand a week later to reverse the score against Australia 39-10 and then another fortnight later he went one better when the All Blacks held South Africa scoreless 0-19 at Cape Town, the first time South Africa hadn’t scored at in 105 years. . . .
May 1, 2010
McCaw completed 100 Super Rugby games when playing the Stormers in Cape Town, unfortunately not able to celebrate with a win. But it proved a year of performance milestones as he and fullback/centre Mils Muliaina completed their 93rd Tests to become the most capped All Blacks and became New Zealand’s most capped Test leader with 52 Tests, supplanting Sean Fitzpatrick’s record. . . .
October 23, 2011
When McCaw, feeling no pain from a broken foot that threatened to derail his chances of playing the final, or the semi-final or the quarter-final, held the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft after an 8-7 win over France in the Rugby World Cup final, it was a signature moment in New Zealand’s rugby history first and foremost, but for McCaw and those players who had been involved in Cardiff four years earlier, it was a weight-lifting exercise. . .
August 15, 2015
The unprecedented scenes after about 62 minutes of the Bledisloe Cup decider against Australia at Eden Park, when New Zealand claimed a 41-13 victory will live long in the memory, longer even than the events of the Test match itself. What happened when McCaw was substituted from the field was a spontaneous outbreak of respect, affection and acknowledgement for one of the great contributions to not just the All Blacks but to New Zealand rugby . . .
November 1, 2015
History has its own way of acknowledging those who have had an impact on their area of speciality. That happened at Twickenham when McCaw, regarded as one of the finest to have played the game anywhere in the world, held the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft after beating Australia 34-17 in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final. . . .
There is no doubt about his skill and accomplishments as a player and captain.
What also makes him stand out is his character.
He has lived with intense scrutiny on and off the playing field and many a lesser man would have let the adulation and attention get the better of him.
Instead, he has always come across as modest, grounded and unaffected by the trappings of fame. Friends who know him say this is not just a show.
His parents, Don and Margaret, can take credit for the values instilled in him as a child.
That and his country upbringing gave him a strong foundation on which he built to become a great All Black, a truly good man and a New Zealander of whom we can all be proud.