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The 34-year-old, who is expected to retire after this year’s World Cup, which starts in England on Sept.18, will be determined to finish his career as the first captain to win back-to-back world titles.Australia has not held the coveted trophy since 2002 and desperately wants it back.This New Zealand team, which is the most successful in international rugby, with a 90 percent winning record since 2012, is equally desperate not to be the one that lost it.John’s images have appeared in books, on calendars, brochures and even on the back of a bus.
But, injuries and sabbaticals aside, he has been virtually ever-present since.
He has become the finest openside flanker of his generation, as well as an astute and inspirational leader who is admired and respected by teammates and opponents alike.“He’s gone on to definitely be — in modern terms anyway — the greatest rugby player New Zealand has ever had and maybe, probably, the greatest player to have played the game in the modern era,” Hansen said.
It would be hard to argue with Hansen just from the statistics alone.
His consistently high-quality performances are all the more remarkable, given the position Mc Caw plays, not to mention the battering his body has taken during 14 years of international rugby.
The physical strength and conditioning needed to play openside flanker are tremendous.
That is in part because New Zealand’s main focus is ensuring that there is no repeat of last weekend’s poor performance against Australia in which it lost to its trans-Tasman rival for the first time since 2011.