France v New Zealand
Richie McCaw wants to prove himself in Paris
November 6, 2013
Richie McCaw was strong as ever against Japan in Tokyo © Getty Images
Richie McCaw wants a smooth end to the rockiest international rugby season of his career, the All Blacks captain wanting to "prove himself" after the injuries that restricted a personal campaign delayed by his sabbatical.
McCaw is set to play his 11th Test against France, and his first since the Rugby World Cup 2011 final at Eden Park in Auckland, having missed the 3-0 series sweep in New Zealand June while enjoying a six-month break from rugby.
He has played in five of the All Blacks' eight Tests since the Dave Gallaher Trophy series, including in the unfamiliar role of No.8 against Japan in Tokyo last weekend, but he has suffered an increasing number of injuries since the foot issue that nearly ended his tournament at Rugby World Cup 2011. McCaw's season comprises fewer than 400 minutes playing time, with replacement No.7 Sam Cane having looked more assured as a replacement in every Test.
"Every time I've got going, I've had an injury to stop again," McCaw said of his return to rugby in 2013. "It would be nice to string together a few games on end and feel like I'm getting back into playing well."
McCaw rates France as "special" rivals for New Zealand given the history of dramatic Rugby World Cup matches between the two nations, but he says the 2011 decider in Auckland "was a while ago now".
"When I think about this weekend, it's more about the challenge of playing here in France," McCaw said. "That, for me, is where the excitement comes from."
McCaw looked surprised when told the All Blacks haven't lost in Paris for 40 years.
"It would be quite good to keep that going."
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