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McCaw returns Commonwealth Games Rates rise

McCaw's sojourn backed by coaches

10:56 Mon Sep 24 2012
AAP
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is set to sit out the first half of next year (Getty)
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is set to sit out the first half of next year (Getty)

Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains thinks Richie McCaw's decision to take six months off will help develop another top-class openside flanker.

McCaw, 31, will miss the first half of next season to take a sabbatical.

The clause was written into his four-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union signed before the World Cup last year.

He hopes the time away from the game will allow him to prolong his career which is now into its 12th year.

"I'm pretty keen to play as long as I can. I realised that the break might allow me to play a bit longer.

"Part of it is physical but part of it is just mental - over the years I've never really had more than a couple of months off," he said from Buenos Aires.

The move has the backing of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and his coach at the Crusaders, Todd Blackadder, who both hoped the 110-Test All Black would return to the game reinvigorated.

"I would expect him to come back fitter, stronger and more passionate than what he is at the moment and that sounds pretty exciting," Blackadder told Radio New Zealand.

Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains told the broadcaster McCaw's absence could have a positive spin-off for other loose forwards in the country.

"Because he's been there so long and been so good and always been number one, we probably haven't developed a second tier No.7 to the level that we should.

"I think this gives another player a great opportunity to position themselves in behind Richie as the back-up seven and so that's a positive for All Black rugby," Mains said.

Contenders for the role include the Chiefs' Sam Cane, McCaw's understudy at the Crusaders, Matt Todd, and 26-Test All Black Adam Thomson.

NZRU boss Steve Tew said McCaw would lead the side on their end of year tour to Europe but was then unlikely to play any rugby until after the All Blacks' three-Test home series against France in June next year.

User comments
Give him a break he gives everything every time he goes on that field,very tough an physical player an has no worrys about self preservation,in fact he is the only new zealander tough enough to play ice hockey
Come on - support the guy. He is a one of the best captains in years, a great player and a great bloke. I think this is a very realistic move. What is the point of pounding his body through the super rugby season then being overworked or injured for the all blacks games next year. He is an inspiring leader who the all black team clearly respect and taking time ou to prolong his overall game life is a realistic decision and I am sure not one made lightly. So many others have taken the bucks overseas but not him - the black jersey is his life so give him a break!!!!
as far as im concerend hes been the hardest playing man in nz rugby for the last 12years.. im sure a 6 month break is a small price for our best player.
What load of nonsense, look to the future, McCaws is struggling now, he will be washed out in 3 years whether he rests or not. No one in the history of the game has had speciial treatment like him. Lets move on and get young players like Sam Cane up to speed for 2015.
Mccaw IS THE HIGHEST PAID RUGBY PLAYER, WE GO WATCH HIM PLAY FOR CANTERBURY, SINCE HE IS TAKING A 6 MTH VACATION, THEN US AND OUR XTENDED FAMIYT AN FRIENDS WILL DO LIKEWISE, TAKE 6 MTH BREAK FRM WATCHING RUGBY, ESPECIIALLY THE CANTERBURY GAMES
Is McCaw that important 4 years down the track?. Is it not about the now. What do the next generation or those on the cusp now get out of it?. They are only keeping the jersey warm because McCaw is bigger than the game. An amazing player who polarizes opinion with his play but if he is spent then time he moved on. Will he still be paid for sitting on his backside or in the ***-pit of a glider?. Of course he will, ridiculous. Not bad work if you can get it.