Richard Hugh "Richie" McCaw (born 31 December 1980) is a New Zealand rugby union player, and is the current test captain of the All Blacks – the country's national team. He predominantly plays in the openside flanker position for the New Zealand, Crusaders and Canterbury teams, but had also played as blindside flanker and no. 8. McCaw is considered by many as the greatest openside flanker of all time, with his ability to anticipate play and adaptability to the referee's rulings two of his key attributes. He was raised in rural South Canterbury, before moving to Dunedin in 1994 to board at Otago Boys' High School. In 1999 he moved to Christchurch to study at Lincoln University and was selected in the national under-19 team. The following year he played for the Under-21s and Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship (NPC), before debuting in 2001 for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.
He was selected for the All Blacks' 2001 end-of-year tour, despite having played only eight minutes of Super 12 rugby. His debut for New Zealand was against Ireland, where he was awarded man-of-the-match and was selected as New Zealand's first choice openside flanker for the 2003 World Cup. McCaw became a regular selection for New Zealand, only missing a few games due to reoccurring concussions. In 2006 he was appointed captain of the All Blacks – who he led at the 2007 World Cup. After their elimination in the quarter-finals, his captaincy came under criticism, but he was retained and eventually led the team to victory in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
During McCaw's career, Canterbury won the NPC (later ITM Cup) five times, and the Crusaders have reached the Super Rugby semi-finals nine times, going on to win the final on four of these occasions. Since his debut the All Blacks have won seven Tri-Nations titles, completed three successful Grand Slam tours and won the Bledisloe Cup eight times. In 2010 McCaw played his 100th Super Rugby game, made a record-equalling 94th test appearance for his country, and became New Zealand's most capped All Black captain – leading the side in 87 test matches, making him the highest capped test Captain in Rugby Union history.He has been named the International Rugby Board (IRB) International Player of The Year a record three times. In 2010 his contract was NZ$750,000 per year, making him the equal highest paid player in New Zealand. In the 2011 World Cup Pool game against France, McCaw became the first All Black to reach 100 caps. On 23 October, McCaw led his team to their second World Cup title in 24 years by beating France 8–7 in the final. In 2012, after the win against the Springboks in Soweto, McCaw became the first rugby union player to win 100 tests – while at the time only having lost 12 games.
His autobiography, Richie McCaw: The Open Side, was co-written with Greg McGee and released on 9 October 2012.In the United Kingdom and United States the book is titled The Real McCaw. It includes some criticism of Wayne Barnes' appointment as the referee for the All Blacks' 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final, and gives McCaw's perspective of the coaching appointment of Graham Henry over Robbie Deans.
2001-New Zealand Under 21 Player of the Year,NPC Division One Player of the Year
2002-International Rugby Players Association Newcomer of the Year
2003-New Zealand Player of the Year
2004-NPC Division One Player of the Year
2006-New Zealand Player of the Year,IRB International Player of the Year
2009-New Zealand Player of the Year,IRB International Player of the Year
2010-IRB International Player of the Year,New Zealand Sportsman of the Year
2011-New Zealand Sportsman of the Year
2012-New Zealand Player of the Year