LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Richie McCaw’s future on the rugby field remains a matter for conjecture, with the New Zealand captain saying on Sunday he did not want retirement talk to overshadow playing at the Rugby World Cup.
“I haven’t made a final decision yet although I’ve given a reasonably strong hint,” McCaw told Reuters.
”If I play much more past this year is pretty debatable but the reason I haven’t (made any announcement) is I really wanted to play this year, and this tournament, like you would any other year, as if you were going to play on.
”With the door still being open, that decision is going to be made later. But I want to make sure that when I turn up for training, I train to be better than I was the week before. If you keep that attitude you keep performing and I think that’s an important part of being an All Black.
“I’ll make a decision after that but, as I say, you can read between the lines but I still haven’t finally made that call,” said McCaw, speaking at a coaching clinic for the children of employees of sponsors AIG.
Arguably one of rugby union’s finest ever, the 34-year-old McCaw was given an emotional send-off in Auckland last month after what was billed as his last home international - an emphatic 41-13 win over Australia.
After captaining the All Blacks to a narrow win over France in the 2011 final, McCaw starts his final World Cup against Argentina at Wembley on Sunday and said: ”We obviously know each well over the last couple of years playing each other twice each year (in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship). I
“If you look at the result they had in their last two tests against South Africa, they did pretty well there and that does make it a difficult start.”
New Zealand, with McCaw at the helm of a golden generation of players, are heavily fancied to retain the world championship, even if the burden of expectation can sit heavily at times.
”That type of expectation is what has driven the All Blacks to keep training hard and to give of their best. It can be rough at times but that is just part of being an All Black. I’d hate for that to change. That’s what you want. You want to go out and win every game. You want to do everything right so that you can give yourself a chance.
“You think sometimes it’s tough but that’s just the way it is. If you don’t want to do it someone else who wants to do it will fill your spot. I see the pressure as a positive,” he added. (Editing by Clare Fallon)