New Zealand
Richie McCaw will always put All Blacks first
ESPN Staff
December 9, 2013
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw hands over the World Cup to Bernard Lapasset, Dublin, November 18, 2013
Richie McCaw wants to lift the Webb Ellis Cup once again, but he will not put personal ambitions ahead of the team © Getty Images

Richie McCaw will quit the All Blacks if his form and desire diminish ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015, saying he will always "do the right thing" and put the team ahead of his personal ambitions.

McCaw wants nothing more than to play at a fourth World Cup as the All Blacks seek to lift the Webb Ellis Cup overseas for the first time, but he struggles more frequently with injury since a foot problem saw him finish Rugby World Cup 2011, with niggling issues limiting his playing time after he returned from his sabbatical, and he said in an interview with New Zealand's Sunday News that "it's not a matter of limping through just to be at a World Cup".

"People say 'Are you hanging in till then?'." McCaw told Sunday News after finishing the year strongly, playing every minute of the end-of-year Tests against Japan, France, England and Ireland as the All Blacks completed the first perfect season in the professional era.

"You've got to really want to be there, to enjoy it, and be excited by it … you've got to enjoy it and perform all the way through. As long as I keep that desire, enjoyment and performance there, I'd love to be able to. [But] if for any reason that changes, you've got to do the right thing for the team and yourself."

"It's definitely do-able. But if there is a reason to question things, we've got to have those honest conversations. Hopefully, you don't need to, but you trust that the team comes first. The big thing is not to get ahead of yourself. I'm looking at Super Rugby next year and doing that spot-on, because just hanging in there doesn't do anyone any good."

McCaw, meanwhile, said the Crusaders and the All Blacks had to manage the workload of Kieran Read if the World Player of the Year were to maintain his impact.

"He's hugely important to the team now, and in the last couple of years his growth as a player and senior figure has been awesome to watch," McCaw said of the No.8. "But if you keep thrashing them they'll come to a grinding halt. It's a fine line between looking at the here and now and looking at the big picture, but with Todd Blackadder and the All Black coaches we're lucky to have guys who can see past the next game-type thing."

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