Friday, March 30, 2007

Will McCaw be named AB skipper this week?

May 9, 2006

The New Zealand Herald reports a new All Black captain is to be announced on Saturday.

09.05.06 7.30pm

Richie McCaw is a near certainty to be announced as All Blacks rugby captain when the post is unveiled on Saturday.

In a surprise move, the man to replace the retired Tana Umaga will be named two weeks before the rest of the squad.

Unless coach Graham Henry pulls off one of the great bluffs, that man will be McCaw, the outstanding Canterbury and Crusaders flanker who has been groomed for the position in recent seasons.

Henry has repeatedly told journalists that "even a blind man" could see what he was doing when asked about Umaga's replacement.

The 25-year-old was vice-captain last year and led the All Blacks in the place of a resting Umaga in two tests -- against Wales in Cardiff in 2004 and against Ireland in Dublin late last year. He became his country's 60th test captain in the process.

Another giveaway that McCaw will be given the job is that Saturday morning's announcement is set down for Christchurch Rugby Club.

Crusaders captain McCaw has missed the last two matches for his Super 14 franchise to rest his body.

The Oamaru-born forward has played 36 tests and scored five tries.

All Blacks manager Darren Shand said the timing of the announcement had come about after discussions between Henry and the new captain.

It was deemed the most suitable time given the player's Super 14 commitments.

An All Blacks squad of 39 will be named on May 28 for the early-season tests against Ireland and Argentina.

Of them, 24 will be involved in the two-test series against Ireland, in Hamilton on June 10 and Auckland on June 17.

The other 15 will prepare specifically for the one-off Argentina test in Buenos Aires on June 24.

They will fly to Argentina separately and be joined by 11 more players from the Ireland series.



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