25 Jul 2015

McCaw pumped up for 'ultimate challenge'

8:52 am on 25 July 2015

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will tomorrow morning play for potentially the last time in what he considers the "ultimate" challenge - a Rugby Championship test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

The All Blacks captain Richie McCaw  during the New Zealand training session at the St Davids School in Johannesburg.

The All Blacks captain Richie McCaw during the New Zealand training session at the St Davids School in Johannesburg. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Both teams today completed their captains' runs at the famous Ellis Park.

McCaw has hinted he will retire at the end of the year, making this probably his last appearance in South Africa; though not necessarily his final cap against the Springboks with the teams likely to meet in the semi-finals of this year's World Cup in England.

"I haven't thought too much about it, I'm focused on the coming game and want to win. If this is to be my last game [in South Africa], I want the lasting memory to be one of a win," McCaw said after today's captains' run.

There is much to gain from a victory tomorrow morning.

It will keep the side on track to win this year's shortened Rugby Championship, provide a psychological blow ahead of the World Cup and give McCaw the satisfaction of victory at a venue he considers the hardest to play at.

"We've been coming here [Johannesburg] for the past four years and whether it's been at Soccer City or Ellis Park we have considered these games against the Springboks to be the toughest," McCaw said.

"It's always the most physical, the most intense match. It's the game you want to be a part of and Ellis Park in particular is the ultimate place to play at. We know we have to take it up a level when we come here."

McCaw says the game will provide an excellent test of character for his side, including debutants Lima Sopoaga and James Broadhurst, who start at flyhalf and lock.

"When it's toughest, that's when the best players stand up. It may come down to one moment, and so you keep going, you stay in the game for that moment," McCaw said.

"It can mean the difference between winning and losing. That's also the way you as a captain can inspire those around you."

The All Blacks are hoping to avoid back-to-back defeats at Ellis Park after losing 25-27 last year.

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