Richie McCaw has been hailed as the greatest all black of all time, but his achievements on the rugby field extend far beyond that of any normal human male. Personally I believe Richie McCaw is an amazing and intelligent athlete leading the All Blacks to many victories, for example in 2012 Richie became the first rugby union player to be involved in 100 test wins.
Richie was born in Oamaru, North Otago in 1980 where he started playing rugby at just 9 years old, he didn’t take rugby seriously until he was 14 when he was playing for Otago boys high school, 4 years later he had captured the attention of national selectors during a match against Rotorua boys high school, unfortunately he missed out on making the New Zealand secondary schools team and decided to study agricultural science and of course pursue rugby at Lincoln University in Christchurch.
Two papers shy of his degree Richie decided rugby was all that matters after his team, the New Zealand under 19 squad won the world championship which was held in Wales, it was during this competition that Richie realised his dream of becoming an all black was a real possibility. In 2001 Richie made his debut in super rugby playing for the Crusaders which lead to his glorious career in the All Blacks beginning six months after his debut.
Richie McCaw has dedicated his life to playing rugby for New Zealand, his career has had its downs, which he was heavily criticised for, for example the 2007 rugby world cup the All Blacks lost to France despite receiving the majority of the blame Riche maintained focus and concentrated on the future, later in his autobiography “The OpenSide Richie accepted blame for the loss, a quality hard to find in professional athletes.
By many standards he is the greatest rugby player of his generation and possibly ever, for example in his debut test match for the All Blacks, Richie won man of the match for his performance which lead to being selected as the first choice open-side flanker for the 2003 world cup. Not only does Richie inspire many people in New Zealand, he also works hard to give back to the community by making regular appearances at charity events and founded a charitable foundation with fellow All Blacks Dan Carter and Ali Williams called “For Everyone”.
For everyone was designed to benefit all New Zealanders, they sell products such as water and a flavoured milk range with 99 percent of profits going towards communities in New Zealand, for example anyone can apply for a grant of under $5000 as long as it benefits a community in some way. To date For Everyone has given over $150,000 towards communities in New Zealand. In 1987 New Zealand hosted the first ever rugby world cup and won, a very proud moment in history for all New Zealanders, proving that even though we are a small country, when it comes to rugby we are a force to be reckoned with.
In 2011 the 7th Rugby World Cup was hosted by New Zealand and with Richie McCaw as the captain, with much love and support from the nation the All Blacks were victorious for the second time bringing the Webb Ellis Cup back to New Zealand, Richie played a huge role in the All Blacks victory, being at the centre of the defence. Richie was also hiding the fact that he had a foot injury, with a possibly broken foot by shear willpower and determination he managed to lead the All Blacks to victory against France with an 8-7 final score. Can you imagine that?
Having to hide the fact that he could barely walk from his team, the coaches, the media and the public so he could play the game he lives for, its athletes like Richie that make me proud to call myself a Kiwi. Richie McCaw’s contributions to New Zealand rugby and communities are what make him such a legend, in 2012 after the All Blacks win against the South African Springboks Richie became the first rugby union player to have been involved in 100 international test victories, fifty years from now people will still remember the open-side flanker who led the All blacks to an amazing victory against France in 2011.