Football has El Diego and Der Kaiser
Cricket has Steve Waugh and MSD
Basketball has His Airness
Tennis has its Djoker and Rafa (that Aussie Open final between the two is the greatest match I have had the privilege to see) (and Borg in the past)
WWE has Brock Lesnar.
People who flat out refuse to lose. You can pulverise them, brutalise them, you can try and destroy them; they will stare at defeat and even with their last breath, cry out “fuck you” and carry on fighting.
Richy McCaw is such a man.
He is the undisputed best player of rugby that New Zealand has ever produced. He is arguably the best rugby player the world has ever produced.
Is he the best there ever was? Undoubtedly
Is the best there is ? Undoubtedly
Is he best that there ever will be? Who knows
But one thing’s for sure – even a hundred or two hundred years from now, he will easily walk into the greatest ever team, a guaranteed started.
So how good is he?
Two World Cups (2011 and 2015), 10 Bledisloe Cups as captain, four Tri Nations titles, three Rugby Championship trophies and three times International Rugby Board player of the year.
Matches played – 148, the most by any player in history
Matches played as Captain – 110, the most by any player in history
Matches won – 131, the most by any player in history (never mind rugby, this record is up there with any in any sports – probably Michael Phelps is the only one with a better record)
131 wins in 148 matches people.
Put that in perspective – in rugby New Zealand is the undoubted supreme power.
Put Australia and West Indies in cricket together – and that’s New Zealand in rugby
Put Brazil and Germany in football together – and that’s New Zealand in rugby.
They are the most dominant team in the world; they have been the most dominant team in the world for the last 100 years.
Since 1903, they have won 413 matches
And Richy McCaw has been involved in 131 of them – 32%.
The records are frankly staggering, stupendous and ridiculous.
Chances of anyone ever beating these records are pretty low (impossible is nothing).
After such a career, and at the very pinnacle of his sports – just days after successfully defending the world cup – he called it a day.
I can’t recall many who have bowed out at the very zenith – Schumacher, Borg, Jordan all came back for a second innings and flopped spectacularly; all the tennis, basketball, cricket and footballing greats petered out at the end of their careers. (Serena Williams and Yelena Isinbayeva might be in future; Michael Phelps when he retired in 2012 definitely, but he says he is coming back for a second innings)
Richy McCaw won the World Cup in his latch match.
And he announced his retirement in true Richy McCaw style – humble and unassuming to the last.
“I didn’t think we’d get it right either way really. The last thing I wanted was to be disrespectful or anything to do with that. It was a chance to acknowledge and pass our sympathies on to his family firstly,” McCaw said. He then proceeded to declare an end to his career. He took questions and that was it, he was off.”