Richie McCaw is the best cheat in rugby says David Flatman
Bath and England prop David Flatman has labelled All Blacks captain Richie McCaw as a cheat; albeit with admiration for the New Zealander's prowess in the dark arts.
With McCaw set to lead New Zealand against old rivals Australia in the semi-finals of the World Cup this weekend, Flatman said: "Credit to McCaw, the only way to reach 100 caps as an openside flanker is to learn how to cheat and he's perfected that art. You see him more than any other No.7 in the world, lying in awkward positions and slowing down ball. He is a class apart. What's more impressive is how often he gets away with it."
McCaw continues to struggle with a foot injury and with the inspirational Dan Carter already ruled out for the rest of the tournament, the captain's fitness is vital if New Zealand are to reach the final and have a shot of winning their first Webb Ellis Trophy since 1987. Having become the first All Black to reach a century of caps in the pool match against France, McCaw was joined in the 100 club by team-mate Mils Muliaina who reached the landmark in the quarter-final with Argentina.
First New Zealand must dispose of a confident Wallabies side when they meet this Sunday. Flatman predicts the battle between McCaw and his opposite No. 7, David Pocock, could be brutal: "Australia's key man will be Pocock. He is so powerful and arguably a better specialist poacher at the breakdown than McCaw, but the All-Black captain's all-round game is more effective. He is a better link up player and makes more yards as a ball carrier."
Of the other semi-final, Flatman expects Wales to come out on top against their Six Nations rivals France: "Make no mistake, if Wales perform to the same standards as they did last week, they will beat France." Flatman singles out Imanol Harinordoquy and Julien Bonnaire of France as the players Wales will need to contain, "[they] are outstanding operators in the air and equally as devastating feasting on scraps at the ruck."
Should the Welsh reach their first World Cup final, Flatman warns they will have to play the game of their lives to stand any chance. Meanwhile if it is the hosts lining up against them, they could do with a bit of extra luck: "Carter's obviously out injured, but Wales could do with McCaw's foot getting a little bit worse too," Flatman semi-joked.
David Flatman is blogging for Maximuscle, official sports nutrition partner of the Welsh Rugby Union, during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Read Flatman’s blog at www.maximuscle.com/blog
Paul Scholes: Manchester City paid the price for not dealing with Barcelona's Sergio Busquets
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Paul Scholes: Jose Mourinho's attempt to influence football's decision-makers is not working. In fact, it may have backfired
Piers Morgan 'hurt' after Arsenal legend Bob Wilson questions his support for the Gunners and labels him a 'pompous individual'
Brooklyn Beckham to be released: Why Arsenal could regret letting David Beckham's son depart
- 1 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit