24 Sep 2011

McCaw celebrates milestone after victory against France

10:51 pm on 24 September 2011

Playing old rivals France in a World Cup clash at Eden Park is the perfect scenario to become the first All Black to win 100 caps, New Zealand captain Richie McCaw says.

The openside flanker achieved the mark at the clash in Auckland on Saturday night when the All Blacks beat France 37-17 in their Pool A match.

"If you were going to pick a place to play and a team to play against, the French would be one you'd pick," McCaw told reporters on Friday.

He was set to achieve the feat last week in less glamorous circumstances against lowly Japan at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium but a calf injury ruled him out after he had been selected, Reuters reports.

"Had it happened last week it still would have been pretty cool so I wasn't too worried either way, but now that it has come down to this occasion the thing now is to make sure it is a good memory," McCaw said.

McCaw has been a mainstay of the All Blacks side since making his debut against Ireland in a 40-29 win in Dublin a decade ago.

A three-time winner of the International Rugby Board player-of-the-year award, he is widely regarded as one of the finest All Blacks and his skills at the breakdown and ability to read the play have consistently been a thorn in the side of opponents.

The 30-year-old is likely to win many more caps, although he admits few matches would rival the feeling of winning his first. "It was a day I could finally call myself an All Black. Up until that point it was a dream."