All Black legend Richie McCaw is set to reach another milestone tomorrow as he leads his side in the final fixture of their triumphant Tri Nations campaign.
When the whistle goes for kick-off at the newly-named ANZ Stadium in Sydney, McCaw will break Sean Fitzpatrick’s record of 51 Tests as captain of New Zealand.
The 29-year-old faced the Lions on two occasions during the All Blacks’ series whitewash back in 2005, playing an instrumental role in the first and second Test victories before being ruled out of the final encounter in Auckland through injury.
McCaw will win his 89th cap in Saturday’s trans-Tasman clash, edging closer, alongside Mils Muliaina, to Fitzpatrick’s record of 92 appearances and the 100-cap mark – a feat never achieved by an All Black.
McCaw dismissed suggestions of him being the greatest ever All Black captain but admitted he was honoured to exceed Fitzpatrick.
“He's a bit of a legend in the game back home. To even be mentioned in the same breath as him is pretty crazy really," said McCaw.
Despite New Zealand’s failures at recent World Cups, McCaw is widely regarded as the All Blacks’ most successful captain with an impressive 45 wins in 51 matches which could soon rise to 46 if the Kiwis claim a Tri Nations clean-sweep with a 11th successive defeat of the Wallabies.
During an international career which spans nine years, McCaw has tasted defeat on just 10 occasions and has touched down for 18 tries.
“When you're captain of a team you only do any good if you've got a good team round you and a good bunch of guys. That's where I've been lucky over the years," he added.