Hoskins, De Villiers hail McCaw

Saru president Oregan Hoskins has paid tribute to Richie McCaw, who announced his retirement on Thursday.

The All Blacks captain, widely regarded as the greatest rugby player of all time, holds the record as the most-capped international, with 148 Tests of which he won 131 and captained 110. His honours roll include 10 Bledisloe Cups, seven Tri Nations/Rugby Championship titles, two Grand Slam tours and two World Cups. 

Hoskins, speaking on behalf of Saru, praised McCaw on a magnificent career for both club and country.

'Richie’s record is nothing short of phenomenal and we would like to congratulate him on an exceptional career for New Zealand, the Crusaders and Canterbury,' said Hoskins.

'Richie played against the Springboks 26 times and we were on the receiving end of his ability 20 times – no player has beaten the Springboks more than him. Ever since he made his debut for the Crusaders, South African teams have been trying to figure out how to get the better of him. But the real measure of a rugby giant of the game isn’t always his statistics and records, rather how he is seen by his peers and here in South Africa he is very highly regarded. Our players have nothing but praise and admiration for his achievements,' he added.

'To say he is the greatest All Black ever is an apt description of a man who gave everything he had to the game we all love. We would like to wish him well for the next chapters in his life.'

Former Bok captain Jean de Villiers, who retired from Test rugby two months ago, said McCaw can be very proud of all his achievements.

'Richie can be immensely proud of the memories he has helped create on and off the field. What he has achieved on the field, as an individual and as captain of the All Blacks, is nothing short of unbelievable,' De Villiers said.

'The whole of New Zealand can be very proud of him. Richie will probably go down as the best who has ever played this game and his achievements will last forever.'

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams