New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

McCaw ready to set the standard for tough tour



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All Black captain Richie McCaw says that now he has dusted off the cobwebs with Canterbury he is ready to try and recapture the form he showed in the TriNations and Super 14 for a tour that he believes will define his season.

McCaw will lead the All Blacks out in Hong Kong for a historic Bledisloe Cup test on Saturday determined to win so that they can get started on their Grand Slam attempt.

McCaw says after he got in two and a bit matches for Canterbury that he is up for the challenge and says he is satisfied with his own game as the All Blacks face five tests on consecutive weekends.

“I was just happy to get that game under my belt and get a win,” he said of last week’s Air New Zealand Cup final against Wellington.

“Going into a test match I’m pleased I’ve had some rugby now. I don’t have to worry about that side of things; I can just focus on doing it right for a test match that’s going to be a step up from what we have had the last couple of weeks. Hopefully I’m ready for it.”

McCaw missed the start of the Tri Nations after he picked up an ankle injury against England but wasted no time getting up to speed when he returned for the All Blacks and showed some of the best form of his career.

McCaw has high standards and works hard at getting the same consistency of performance he believes is so crucial at this level.

He clearly wants to be the best week in and week out and it shows in the All Blacks results. He rarely has a game where the All Blacks lose when he has been in form.

“I have been pretty happy. I’ve been reasonably consistent, especially the later half of the Super 14 and during the tests,” McCaw told Rugbyheaven.

“The thing I try to do is make sure I don’t have a good one and then a bad one – I try to keep my performances consistent. You’re always aiming to improve.

“The next six weeks … if I can look back on the year and I can do the same that I did in the middle of the year then perhaps it has been a good year. If it goes the other way you are remembered by that.”

With six tough tests coming up there has been much speculation that McCaw could be rested for some of the matches on the tour that will see the All Blacks going up against the Wallabies, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England on consecutive Saturdays.

“If I get told I’ll give it a crack. I think it’s a generalisation to say that no one can – that you can only play a certain number of tests.

“But I think you have to have an open mind … that maybe if you can’t you can use the other guys.

“Graham (Henry) has always said that anything more than three (tests in a row) then you have to really keep an eye on guys to put the right person out on the field.

“I guess with this tour after each week we will see where everyone is at injury-wise and how they are feeling. That’s the main thing to do.”

The most likely scenario appears to be that McCaw could be rested against Scotland and then return to lead the charge for the final three tests against Ireland, Wales and England.

He certainly gave his new specialist openside backup Scott Waldrom his vote of confidence.

“I was involved with Scott at the Crusaders two or three years ago and I know him reasonably well. I’ve been impressed with what he has done this year.

“He’s a hell of a good man and he’s come in and fitted in pretty well.

“I’m sure he will be given a chance at some stage on the tour. I guess it’s up to him to take that.

“Knowing the sort if guy he is and the sort of form he has shown, especially in the Air New Zealand Cup, then he will be good I think.”

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