New Zealand
All Blacks wary of farewell tour burden
July 9, 2015
Samoa 16-25 New Zealand (Australia only)

The All Blacks' Test campaign cannot turn into a glorified farewell tour for Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, says coach Steve Hansen.

The pair of All Blacks legends, ranked among the greatest players in history, both farewell the international game this year. World-record points scorer Carter will take up a lucrative French contract with Racing Metro in Paris while McCaw has indicated he will announce his retirement later in the year.

One of the more poignant Tests of the year will come in the Rugby Championship-opening fixture against Argentina in Christchurch, where the pair have each played out their entire domestic career for Canterbury and the Crusaders. Hansen acknowledges it will be a special occasion for the pair but prefers it doesn't become a theme.

"That's going to be happening all year, everywhere we go it's going to be Richie's last Test or Dan's last Test," he said. "As a group we have to sit down and say 'how are we going to deal with this, boys?'. Are we going to embrace it and make it work for us, or is it going to be something we carry around like a sack of coal on our backs and it becomes a burden?"

Hansen has pleaded with the media to keep a lid on coverage of the pair through the build-up to the World Cup and at the tournament.

"Hopefully you guys will think that story's getting boring now and write something else."

McCaw, 34, and Carter, 33, laid to rest any doubt about their readiness for the World Cup with influential performances in the messy 25-16 win over Samoa in Apia on Wednesday.

Richie McCaw (r) was influential in Apia © Getty Images

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