All Black skipper Richie McCaw announces retirement

 19 Nov 2015 - 8:41

All Black skipper Richie McCaw announces retirement




Wellington: Two-time World Cup-winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw announced his immediate retirement on Thursday after a record 148 Tests, with a new career beckoning as a commercial helicopter pilot.

"I'm going to be hanging up my boots, the end of my rugby days," the 34-year-old told a press conference that opened with a minute's silence for All Black legend Jonah Lomu, who died on Wednesday.

"I want to let people know that my last game with the All Blacks and as a rugby player was the World Cup final a couple of weeks ago."

Last month McCaw, a three-time World Rugby player of the year, became the only captain to ever claim back-to-back World Cups, capping a career that has seen him anointed as one of the all-time greats.

McCaw said he had been considering retirement for a while and the time felt right after New Zealand's 34-17 win over Australia in the World Cup final against Australia.

"That last game, to have that as the lasting memory of the last time on the pitch -- pretty satisfying," he said.

"The other thing I'm proud of is I played some of my best rugby in the last couple of weeks. To finish on that note is pretty good."

McCaw, a keen aviator, said he intended to pursue a post-rugby career as a commercial helicopter pilot.

"I am hugely passionate about it, it will never replace the thrill of running out in front of 80,000 but it is not far short of it," he said.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen joked that McCaw "couldn't catch, couldn't pass, couldn't run" when he first saw him paying as a teenager.

But Hansen said the outgoing skipper turned himself into one of the game's legends through sheer hard work.

"You've got to pick the right time to go and he couldn't have picked a better time," he said. 

"He is on top of the heap, he's made his own decision and we'll be forever grateful for what he has done for the All Blacks."