New Zealand Rugby
McCaw re-signs with NZRU
ESPNscrum Staff
May 25, 2011
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw talks to the media, New Zealand press conference, Royal Gardens Hotel, London, England, November 2, 2010
McCaw's deal includes the option for a sabbatical like team-mate Dan Carter's recent new contract © Getty Images

Richie McCaw has signed a new four-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).

The All Blacks captain has joined star fly-half Dan Carter in signing a new contract, which will prevent both of them taking up lucrative long-term offers to play abroad. McCaw's four-year deal will allow him to take a break from the game or a short-term overseas sabbatical.

"The reason it has taken a while is that I wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do for myself and for New Zealand rugby," he said. "I don't want to be playing or hanging around if it is not the right thing, but I feel like I can still play for the All Blacks and still contribute and be a better rugby player and get enjoyment out of it.

"I love playing rugby in this country, both for the Crusaders and for New Zealand, and want to do it for a bit longer yet. Playing off-shore is something that's never really been of interest to me. If I've missed out on that opportunity to get this opportunity then I know which one I was keen to pick. I've always been pretty keen to make sure there was an opportunity to stay here."

McCaw, who has captained the All Blacks a record 57 times in Tests, confirmed that, unlike Carter, he had not received a batch of lucrative million-dollar offers from overseas. As with his previous contract, McCaw said his new contract contained a clause whereby he could take a one-off sabbatical, but he had given that no further thought.

"It's nice to have that flexibility - I've never thought about a playing sabbatical although that option is there," he said. "Just the fact that it gives the chance to have a break at some point if need be. You get to a point where you still want to carry on playing but you're burnt out and there's an opportunity for a break.

"A four-year deal is a big commitment by both parties, but the reason there's a bit of complexity there is to make sure if things don't go to plan then there's an opportunity for both sides to come to the table and see where it goes from there."

The NZRU was delighted to keep both players out of the clutches of foreign clubs and with Canterbury. All Blacks boss Graham Henry praised the duo's professionalism and also highlighted the lure of the jersey.

"It just shows how much the jersey really means. The All Blacks jersey is inspirational to them and they want to continue to be involved with All Blacks rugby and add to that legacy of the last 110 years, which I think is outstanding," Henry said.

"They appreciate the need for the All Blacks to be good role models both on and off the field and they reflect that. They live that lifestyle and are leaders on and off the field who the young ones look up to and will copy. And they also want to win."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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