Richie McCaw pays tribute to 'awesome' All Blacks as he passes record for most capped player

Player now heads to the World Cup in England and Wales for his likely career swansong

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The Independent Online

He became the most-capped player in Test history in his farewell appearance on home soil, but modest Richie McCaw focused on the brilliance of his New Zealand team-mates rather than his sublime feat, lavishing them with praise as they retained the Bledisloe Cup with a convincing 41-13 victory over Australia at Eden Park on Saturday.

McCaw played his 142nd Test, taking him past Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll as the most capped player of all time, and now heads to the World Cup in England and Wales for his likely career swansong.

But McCaw remained humble amid the emotion of the occasion. “They’re absolute champions,” said McCaw of his team-mates. “The jersey means a whole lot but the people that fill it up are the ones that put all that effort and energy in. I’ve been so lucky, and I think those guys will agree, to have each other side by side over so many years to go through the tough times and the good times.

“Those men have all given a huge amount and our success has come from their attitude and talent. There’s going to be a big hole left but, as always, people will fill it. I think we can say to those men who’ve done their country proud, they’re absolutely awesome.”

Tributes to McCaw were led by the All Blacks coach, Steve Hansen. “He’s just an ordinary bloke but he’s a champion,” he said. “He’s probably been our greatest All Black of the modern time – if not ever.”