Great All Black Returns to Where It All Began
Richie McCaw returned to where his career began in Dublin for his 124th Test on 23 November, and, just like in that debut game where New Zealand were 21-7 down just after half-time, it was a tumultuous occasion, as the Guardian’s Steve James explained.
Back in 1998, a young McCaw “approaching his 18th Birthday was very excited,” James wrote. “He had been selected for the New Zealand Under-19 trials, and he had been given a training programme in preparation for those trials in late January.
“He showed the programme to his uncle. ‘You want to be in the New Zealand Under-19s?’ his uncle asked, ‘Do you want to be an All Black?’
“The answer was in the affirmative. Every young New Zealand boy wants to be an All Black.”
McCaw’s uncle encouraged him to go one better than that, and aspire to be a “G.A.B”—a Great All Black.
“By 2001 that young man had been capped by the All Blacks, making his debut in a 40-29 victory over Ireland in Dublin.
“It is safe to state that he has become a G.A.B. He has now won 110 Tests, with one draw, for an 89.11 per cent winning record. It was his 87th as captain, of which he has won 77. It is a staggering achievement of success.”