Magazine article The Spectator

Notes On. A Rugby Legend

Magazine article The Spectator

Notes On. A Rugby Legend

Article excerpt

'There's a chance we'll meet up with Richie McCaw in Christchurch,' proffered the PR on our New Zealand press trip. The man from the Sunday Times and I let out a little gasp. We weren't sports journos but we knew where McCaw stood in the pantheon of all-time greats.

He is the most capped player in rugby union history, a World Cup winner on two occasions and arguably the best open-side flanker there has ever been. He captained the mighty All Blacks 110 times out of his 148 matches, and is probably the most popular living Kiwi. That's all.

Richie, as everyone knows him, retired from the game in 2015 after lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy at Twickenham. Married to a hockey player, he's now involved with a helicopter company (he has his pilot's licence) and has no interest in becoming a coach or TV pundit because 'I'm not good at getting into all that criticism business'.

What he is brilliant at, however, is answering questions from people like me, who don't really understand the difference between a ruck and a scrum. And in so doing he embodies all that is best about a sport that will shortly reach fever pitch now the British and Irish Lions have arrived in New Zealand. 'I don't miss playing a heap, but nothing will ever replace that feeling when you're in the dressing room with your mates after giving everything, win or lose,' Richie said. 'And there aren't many sports where you spend 80 minutes bashing the hell out of each other and then go and have a beer together. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.