New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 34.
The openside flanker will end his superb career as possibly the greatest All Black of all time after winning a world record 148 Test caps and captaining his side to back-to-back World Cup titles.
McCaw’s last match was the World Cup final at Twickenham last month as the All Blacks downed the Wallabies 34-17.
The death of Jonah Lomu 24 hours before McCaw’s announcement had stunned the entire country of New Zealand.
But before the news conference to announce McCaw’s retirement those present held a minute's silence in memory of Lomu, whose death at the age of 40 was described as "a big shock" by McCaw.
"Today, I thought about whether it was the right thing to do," said McCaw. "But I'm going to be hanging up my boots.
"My thoughts and condolences go to his (Lomu’s) wife and two boys.
"When I became an All Black he was in the team. To play with him was amazing. I remember one of my first games, I climbed off the bus and the mob came towards me and I thought 'this is pretty cool, being an All Black' but they kept going because they only wanted to be near to Jonah.
"There are a lot of people round the world hurting at the loss of a great man."
McCaw now plans to pursue a career as a helicopter pilot and ends his career with a number of world records.
He won 131 of his Tests and captained the All Blacks 110 times – both records that look set to stand for a long time.
"My last game was the World Cup final, so the end of something that has been a big part of my life," he added.
"I made no secret this year was probably going to be my last, but deep down I didn't want to shut the door totally. I was worried the emotion might get to me in a World Cup year, by leaving that door open it didn't feel final until now.
"It has been a hell of a journey over the last 15 years. I've been privileged to do what I love for so long. Here's to new adventures."
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