McCaw claims top New Zealand honour


Legendary former New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has been awarded his country's highest honour after ending his All Blacks career by lifting the Rugby World Cup in England this year.

McCaw retired after skippering New Zealand to a second successive World Cup triumph, finishing his stellar career as the most-capped player in Test history having made 148 international appearances.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen described McCaw as "possibly the greatest player to have ever played the game in the modern era".

And McCaw was able to celebrate his 35th birthday on New Year's Eve by joining the Ordinary Member of the New Zealand Order (ONZ).

Former All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter was also recognised on the New Year Honours list, as he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) along with All Blacks assistant manager Gilbert Enoka.

Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith were appointed Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM), as was forwards coach Mike Cron.

New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey said: "We are incredibly proud of Richie and what he has achieved for rugby and for New Zealand.

"He's the embodiment of our vision for rugby to be a sport that unifies and inspires people. He has been an inspirational leader and an outstanding New Zealander. We congratulate him on this fantastic recognition.

"Dan, Keven, Tony, Ma'a and Conrad inspired a whole generation of young players during their time in the All Blacks and entertained rugby fans both here and overseas for many years and we congratulate them on their recognition.

"Gilbert and Mike, in their respective off-field roles, also provide outstanding leadership behind the scenes and we are delighted that they have been recognised as well.

"All of the rugby folk honoured today can be proud of what they have achieved as we are of them. These Honours recognise not only the important contributions they have made to the game, both on and off the field, but also their contributions to the wider community and we thank them for that."