All Blacks legend Richie McCaw didn't hesitate when naming his toughest opponent - Ruck

All Blacks legend Richie McCaw didn’t hesitate when naming his toughest opponent

Richie McCaw, the iconic captain of the All Blacks, has recognised an English flanker as one of the most formidable adversaries he ever faced.

He began his rugby journey began at Otago Boys’ High School and continued at the University of Canterbury. His professional debut came in 2001 with Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship, swiftly followed by a Super Rugby debut with the Crusaders.

Known for his exceptional ability as an openside flanker, McCaw’s on-field intelligence, physicality, and relentless work ethic set him apart. His tenure with the All Blacks, spanning from 2001 to 2015, saw him earn 148 caps, a record for New Zealand at the time of his retirement.

Throughout his career, McCaw was renowned for his leadership qualities. He captained the All Blacks a record 110 times, demonstrating tactical acumen and an unwavering commitment to excellence. His accolades include multiple IRB Player of the Year awards and recognition as the New Zealand Sportsman of the Year.

Richie McCaw of New Zealand and Daniel Carter of New Zealand hold aloft the Rugby World Cup during the Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on Oct 31st 2015 in London – Photo mandatory by-line: Graeme Truby/Pinnacle – Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 – Mobile:0797 1270 681 – VAT Reg No: 183700120 – SPORT – International Rugby

Off the field, McCaw is respected for his humility and dedication to charitable endeavors. Since retiring, he has continued to contribute to the sport and his community, including involvement in youth development and various philanthropic activities. 

In his list of the five toughest flankers he encountered in his illustrious career, the two-time Rugby World Cup champion begins with the legendary French captain Thierry Dusautoir at the top.

5. Thierry Dusautoir (France)

  • Position Back-row
  • Height 6 ft 2 in
  • Weight 218 lb
  • Caps 80

Dusautoir made his international debut against Romania in 2006 before making a name for himself the following year when France stunned New Zealand 20-18 in the World Cup quarter-finals. 

The former France skipper also scored a try and was named man of the match in the 2011 World Cup final when New Zealand avenged their defeat of four years earlier with an 8-7 win in the final.

Richie McCaw said: “Over the years I’ve played him a few times and you always know he’s there,” said McCaw of Dusautoir. “He was always pretty big defensively and in the breakdown area. A menace”

DID YOU KNOW? He broke the record for most tackles in a match, making 38 tackles against the All Blacks in the 2007 World Cup