Defining moments for New Zealand Rugby

Ravi Nyayapati – It is time to call-Ravi Nyayapati Web

At age 35, many plan for the next big phase of their careers and identify opportunities for contribution to society, with an aim for recognition.

For former All Black captain Richie McCaw, his 35th birthday saw him being appointed to the Order of New Zealand (ONZ), the highest honour in New Zealand’s honours system, limited to 20 living members at any time.

He becomes the youngest New Zealander to be appointed to the Order and joins an elite list that includes former Prime Ministers Jim Bolger, Mike Moore and Helen Clark and sportsmen Sir Murray Halberg and Sir Bob Charles.

Privileged and humbled

McCaw acknowledged feeling “extremely privileged and humbled” to have been appointed to the Order.

Some of McCaw’s records are mind-blowing. They are (1) He has played 148 tests and captained 110 tests (2) He has won 131 (89%) of the 148 tests (3) McCawHe has captained the All Blacks to two consecutive World Cup victories (4) Since he made his debut in 2001, there have been 132 more All Blacks. Of the 61 games he played at home, he has lost just two (5) Without McCaw in the team, the All Blacks winning percentage has dropped to 68% (6) He is a three-time winner of the World Player of the Year award.

Great Winner

Since 1903 the All Blacks have won 413 games and McCaw has been in 32% of them.

He is the Sachin Tendulkar of Rugby Union. As much as the Bharat Ratna was promptly bestowed upon Tendulkar on his retirement, the ONZ is an appropriate way of recognising him, rather than Knighthood.

McCaw also seems to have settled well with the ONZ that does not come with any titles.  As McCaw said, “I have never been comfortable with titles.”

Without a doubt, the most capped rugby player of all time, McCaw has been an inspirational leader and outstanding New Zealander. His leadership style on-field, his impeccable conduct off-field and his astonishing records are a true testament of a legend in Rugby.

Defining moment

New Year Honours List also included other team members from the highly successful All Blacks unit. Fellow World Cup winner Dan Carter and the team’s mental skills coach, Gilbert Enoka were made Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM), whilst Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, who all retired from international rugby after the World Cup, were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).

This has to be a defining moment for New Zealand Rugby.

The most successful sports team in history has bid farewell to its most prolific players.  What coach Steve Hansen does now to rebuild another great team remains to be seen.  At least we know the best man to do this has the job.

Photo : Richie McCaw and Dan Carter

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