ME Sports’ Martin Myers & Egon Seconds sat down with All Blacks and Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw in Cape Town on Thursday for an entertaining chat.
Below are some highlights from the interview aired on www. thetaxi.co.za yesterday compiled and edited by our newest contributor, Grant Shub.
His favourite band
U2 is one of my favourites. Unfortunately, I missed them when they came to Auckland in November. They have toured New Zealand twice and on both occasions, I was on tour in the UK. Seeing them in concert is I still on my TO DO list.
I can’t understand why (laughs). I have been pretty lucky with the teams I have been involved with (the Crusaders and All Blacks) and have had some really good players around me, which has made it easier for me to do my job. I still have to do my job, but I always aim to be consistent and do the basic rights.
How his love for the oval game developed
I came from a little country town in New Zealand and pretty much the only sport played was rugby. My mother and two brothers played first class rugby and my grandfather was also involved. So I grew with that background, but its every young New Zealand boys dream to play rugby and ultimately become an All Black. I love the game and am lucky to do what I dreamt of.
His rugby heroes
Michael Jones was my favourite. He was one of the stars for the All Blacks at the 1987 Rugby World Cup. John Kirwan was another. It was probably the first time I remember watching the All Blacks and those were the two who stood out. At a later stage, Josh Kronfield and Sean Fitzpatrick were guys I looked up to.
Leading from the front
You can’t direct or demand hard work from other players if you don’t do it yourself. The first thing you have to do is earn the respect from the players around you, and you can only do that by going onto the field and playing well. If as a captain you get nothing else right, but play well then you’ve got at least 80% there. It’s also about being consistent and not trying to do something special every week.
The 2011 Rugby World Cup
As a New Zealander, winning the World Cup is a dream. As a player, I would love to win it. We have an opportunity this year to have a crack at it. We had an opportunity last time and came up short and I think that every time you miss out it makes it even more significant. Because it’s so hard to win, it means so much more. We look at this World Cup has a great opportunity and we have a chance just like anyone else.
Rooming with John Smit
It was pretty good getting to know guys like that – the ones that you usually bash around during a game. I roomed with John and also got to know Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger a bit better. I know call them mates, where as before they were more acquaintances. We shared something special at the Barbarians, but it doesn’t mean you don’t want to bash them on the field the next time you face them.
I first started flying aeroplanes, but now I enjoy flying gliders. I get a little time each summer to do a bit of that. It’s a great way to get away and fly in the mountains.
There are things he’s done in his personal life that we all agree aren’t right, but as a sportsman, I still hold him up there for his mental toughness and the talent he’s got.
His private life
I am fiercely protective of that and have always been. At times people do come up to me, but I can still go down to the bar or supermarket. Kiwis are pretty good in that they let you remain pretty normal.
Being a role model
I understand that as a rugby player you are going to be in the spotlight, but that doesn’t mean you have to be an idiot. I keep away from all the silly stuff.
His favourite place to escape
Down in the middle of the South Island we have a house. I fly a glider with my dad and it’s nice to do my own thing there and try to go as often as possible.
GRANT SHUB the author this is his story
Freelance sports writer, graduated from UCT in 2007 having majored in Media and English Studies. Based in Cape Town he has a passion for all sports, but rugby remains his first love ever since the 1995 Rugby World Cup. He hung up his rugby boots when the schoolboy props starting resembling Os du Randt, and quickly found a new outlet in sports writing. He was the Editor of the Varsity Newspaper, and has worked for SARugby.com and now freelances for a number of publications. He has rubbed shoulders with sporting legends and has interviewed the likes of Jan Ullrich, Frankie Fredericks and Harry Redknapp in his young career. The 26-year-old is always quick to offer sporting insight and can name almost every player by memory be it in Super Rugby or the English Premier League. In his spare time, he reads sports biographies, enjoys sipping hot chocolate and is a long-suffering Arsenal fan.
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