In the realm of rugby greatness, few can rival the former All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw. The iconic flanker steered New Zealand to consecutive World Cup victories in 2011 and 2015, amassing a remarkable 148 appearances for his nation, 110 of which he captained.
Even on the sacred home turf, McCaw tasted defeat only twice in 61 games, and his overall loss tally in those 148 matches amounted to a mere 15.
His illustrious career included being crowned World Player of the Year thrice and contributing 135 points to his country, solidifying his status as the highest-scoring forward in New Zealand’s history.
But McCaw’s accolades don’t end with two World Cups – he boasts four Tri-Nations titles, three Rugby Championships, and two Grand Slams. Yet, even the finest athletes harbor quirks.
In a recent live chat on Facebook and Instagram with former teammate Dan Carter and Scottish journalist Lee McKenzie, a surprising revelation surfaced about McCaw’s pre-game ritual – a mandatory ice cream fix.
Carter disclosed, “I’ve never seen a man eat so much ice cream before. I’m struggling to think of a test match you played where you didn’t have ice cream the night before a game.”
McCaw openly admitted, “You’re spot on. The best man at my wedding, when he got up, the first thing he said was ‘we’re going to start the speech with Richie’s first love.’ And everyone thought ‘where’s he going here?’ … and then he said ‘ice cream.’ I love my ice cream. I always found on a Friday night you’d earned it for the week. It got me ready to go.”
As for his preferred flavor, McCaw revealed, “I quite enjoy mint-choc chip. But with an apple crumble the night before a game, a bit of vanilla used to be pretty perfect.”
Carter humorously added that McCaw would become quite irate if denied his pre-game ice cream. “I did find it quite amusing when you’d absolutely tear off at the dietician or the hotel staff because there wasn’t ice cream,” joked Carter, emphasising the critical role of preparation in McCaw’s ritual.
“England’s best” – Richie McCaw ranks his five toughest opponents
Sourcing several Q&A’s from down the years, including one with Rugby World, here is his top five:
5. Thierry Dusautoir (France)
Height 6 ft 2 in
Weight 218 lb
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