Rugby World Cup
Richie McCaw hopes to see more liberated All Blacks team at Rugby World Cup
September 2, 2015

Richie McCaw hopes the naming of the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup squad will alleviate the anxiety that has permeated their game for much of the year, having reminded his 30 team-mates that no New Zealand team has won the world crown outside their homeland and that no side has defended their title in seven previous tournaments.

McCaw, who will attend his fourth World Cup, also issued a reminder of New Zealand's five successive tournament failures before notching their second world title in 2011, agreeing with the sentiment of former All Blacks skipper Sean Fitzpatrick that this year's tournament in the United Kingdom is the toughest yet to win because of the quality on offer across the top seven teams.

"A few of us have had lessons about some things you do and some things you don't do," he said. "If we just try and think that because we've won before, we know what to do - I think you're kidding yourself. The challenge is big and that's why you play the game."

The All Blacks have struggled to find their best form in the short lead-up to the World Cup - aside from their 41-13 thrashing of Australia in Auckland - but McCaw believes the competition for places had played a debilitating role at times.

"There's been a little bit of anxiety across everyone because you knew you certainly weren't assured of anything," he said.

The veteran of a world-record 142 Tests said form in Super Rugby and in the Rugby Championship now counted for little, explaining that the weeks leading up to the tournament and the combinations formed during pool play were more important.

"The team that gets the job done will be the one that gets it right in the next six weeks," McCaw said. "The quicker we get our head around that, the better."

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