McCaw says time’s right to take off

Richie McCaw at his press conference yesterday.
Richie McCaw at his press conference yesterday. Marty Melville

Richie McCaw has paid his own tribute to former teammate Jonah Lomu on the day he retired from the game.

McCaw, 34, was unsure whether the timing was right to announce his decision to quit, so he asked that there could be a moment's silence for Lomu, who died on Wednesday of a heart attack linked to his kidney disease aged 40.

"I didn't know what was the right thing to do and we all talked and I got rung up (on Wednesday) to maybe say some words (about Lomu) and today was an opportunity to do that," he said.

"I don't think you get it right either way.

"The last thing I wanted to be was disrespectful or anything to do with that."

McCaw said he was happy with his decision to stop playing, effective immediately, after becoming the first man to captain two World Cup-winning teams.

"I'm hanging up my boots having accomplished everything I could have ever dreamed about in the game," he said. "Knowing that I was able to end my career by helping the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup final is a hugely satisfying feeling."

McCaw will now take up a career as a commercial helicopter pilot and carry on with his charity work.

"Aviation is something I'm passionate about,'' he said. "I'm going to carry on flying and work towards getting my commercial pilot licence."

McCaw played a world-record 148 Tests, 131 of them wins. He also lost two Tests on home soil of the 61 he played, while he took out the World Player of the Year award three times.

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