Since 1903, Test matches between Australia and New Zealand have always had an edge. Fast forward 112 years and Saturday’s clash at Eden Park is no different. Last weekend the Wallabies triumphed 27-19 against the All Blacks in Sydney and should they avoid defeat in Auckland this weekend they would win the Bledisloe Cup - the annual contest between the two teams - for the first time since 2002.
They would also ruin the occasion for Richie McCaw; the All Blacks captain who is in line to make his 142nd Test appearance and become the most capped Test rugby player in history, surpassing Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll.
McCaw made his international debut in November 2001 – against O’Driscoll’s Ireland – and since then he’s been there, done that and no doubt got the blood soaked t-shirt on display at home.
His achievements in the No.7 shirt are endless, he’s captained his country on more occasions than anyone else (103 to date), he’s also got an 89 per cent win ratio as captain, and in 2013 guided his team to 14 wins from 14 Tests, a perfect year.
But perhaps his finest achievement was leading his team to World Cup glory in 2011 despite playing with a stress fracture of his right metatarsal.
He aggravated the injury during the pool stages (forcing him to miss the final pool match) and opted against having an x-ray prior to the quarter-final with Argentina. After leading his team to an 8-7 victory over France in the final, his then coach Graham Henry acknowledged that had he not played the All Blacks would not have lifted the Webb Ellis trophy.
More records lie in wait for McCaw, next month he and his team-mates aim to become the first team to successfully defend the World Cup. But for now, McCaw will once again be looking to get his hands on a much bigger trophy (in terms of size) - the Bledisloe Cup.Reuse content