Arguably the best openside flanker in the history of the game, Richie McCaw was born on this day in rugby history in 1980 in Oamaru, North Otago New Zealand. He captained the All Blacks to the 2011 Rugby World Cup title.
McCaw has been an inspiration since he first pulled on the jersey of New Zealand. Despite limited playing time in the Super 14, McCaw was called the national side ion 2001, made his debut and took home man-of-the-match honors. He was selected for the 2003 Rugby World Cup squad, was captain for the disappointing 2007 Rugby World Cup team and hoisted the Webb Ellis Trophy after leading the All Blacks to the 2011 Rugby World Cup title.
"We had to dig deeper than ever before and it's hard to get it to sink in, but I am so proud of every single one of them," McCaw told the IRB after Sunday's RWC final match at Eden Park.
"We couldn't have been under more pressure at times but we stuck to our guns and got there in the end."
In addition to helping the All Blacks to the RWC title in 2011, McCaw has been a part of New Zealand winning seven Tri Nations titles, completing three successful Grand Slam tours and winning the Bledisloe Cup eight times. His personal list of accomplishments includes winning the International Rugby Board (IRB) International Player of The Year a record three times and being the most capped All Black captain.
This is not to say everyone thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread with some South Africans, most notably coach Peter de Villers and lock Victor Matfield, labeling him a ‘cheat.’
McCaw has not let this bother him saying that he tests what referees will let players ‘get away with’ and then pushes that envelop in his favor.
In club rugby, McCaw has remained faithful to his first clubs, his provincial side Canterbury and Super League Crusaders.
1952 – Jean-Pierre Rives – French rugby union player
1980 – Richie McCaw, New Zealand rugby player