Two big years ahead for the All Blacks captain
In precisely two years’ time Richie McCaw will be reflecting on his 2015 Christmas in a couple of ways, first, he could be reflecting on his success in becoming the first man to lead a nation to a World Cup defence.
The second reflection, potential defeat, is not one that will likely be entertained by the All Blacks captain.
The 2015 tournament, the eighth quadrennial affair for global rugby supremacy, will see the current number one ranked team enter as defending champions.
The first time the Rugby World Cup was held on the old continent, the All Blacks were in the same lofty position.
But while the first World Champions established a similar record that the current crop have built up in their first two years as title holders, the difference is the introduction of 21 new players since the beginning of the 2012 season.
That, and the fact that McCaw and lieutenant Kieran Read have led their troops to become the first unbeaten tier one Test side of the professional era.
It would ensure that there would be immediate expectations when next year’s international calendar began.
“When you get to the All Blacks season, you won’t want that winning feeling to stop," McCaw said.
“You want it to go as long as possible.”
Already, there is talk of another potential record, with the World Champions sitting on 14 straight Test victories, and McCaw didn’t deny that another world mark had been mentioned.
“We’ve got close to it a few times,” McCaw smiled, knowing that Lithuania and Cyprus are on the list, with the latter recently beating Austria to make it 21 international wins.
Even though the Cypriots are not on the IRB member nation list, the All Blacks captain did say that another potential achievement would be appreciated.
“That would be nice,” McCaw said.
“It would mean we have had a pretty good year if we can get close to that.”
While there was a full season before the ‘World Cup year’ began, McCaw knew that it would creep up on the team.
“Yeah 2015 will come around quickly,” he admitted.
“Hopefully we’ll be in great shape and playing well.
“We can then have a crack at it.”
It is a crack that will considerably easier thanks to the presence of Kieran Read on the field, and McCaw said that the number eight’s plaudits were well deserved.
“He is a pleasure to play alongside really,” he said.
McCaw said that the secret was maintaining the form over time to the point where consistency came naturally.
“When you are playing well and confident, it gets easier to go out and keep playing well,” he said.
“You don’t have to think too much about it.
“If you don’t have to worry about the playing side and you can focus on just leading the team.”