McCaw confirms retirement

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has confirmed his retirement less than three weeks after guiding the All Blacks to a second successive Rugby World Cup triumph.

The World Cup was widely expected to serve as a swansong for the most-capped player in international rugby union, who made his 148th All Blacks appearance in the final at Twickenham as New Zealand beat Australia 34-17.

However, McCaw hinted at extending his illustrious career in a post-match interview, stating: "If you get moments like this why would you ever call it a day?"

Nevertheless, the vastly experienced flanker announced on Thursday that he will call time on his playing days at the age of 34.

"It's time to hang up the boots," said McCaw. "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."

Following New Zealand's victory over Australia on October 31, coach Steve Hansen described McCaw as "probably the greatest All Black we have ever had".

A three-time winner of World Rugby's Player of the Year award, a prize for which he has been nominated on eight occasions, McCaw made his international debut against Ireland at Lansdowne Road in 2001.

He first captained the All Blacks at the age of 23 and went on to lead his country in 110 Tests - another record.

Last month's success at Twickenham saw him become the first man to captain a country to two World Cup wins, as New Zealand broke new ground by retaining the Webb Ellis Cup.

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