New Zealand Rugby
McCaw declines New Year knighthood
ESPNscrum Staff
December 15, 2011
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw kisses the Webb Ellis Cup, New Zealand victory parade, Rugby World Cup, Auckland, New Zealand, October 24, 2011
Richie McCaw led the All Blacks to Rugby World Cup glory © Getty Images

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw has turned down a knighthood in the New Year honours list.

New Zealand's prime minister, John Key, confirmed in an interview with RadioSport that the Rugby World Cup-winning flanker had been approached about the idea, but that he decided the time wasn't right.

"In the end the conclusion that he drew was that he would love to take it but now wasn't the right time," Key said. "He made the call that he's still in his playing career and it didn't feel quite right for him. That day where he's no longer on the pitch may be the right time for him.

"I have no doubt if we're the government or whoever is the government at that point will go back and talk to him, but it won't be happening on January 1, 2012."

In October, McCaw became the first All Blacks skipper since David Kirk to win rugby's top prize, when his side defeated France 8-7 at Eden Park, and earlier in the tournament he won his 100th cap - becoming the first player to complete a century for New Zealand.

McCaw underwent foot surgery in the wake of his side's triumph, but will return from rehab to lead the Crusaders in next season's Super Rugby campaign.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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