McCaw takes charge

Richie McCaw was officially named as the new All Black captain on Saturday, replacing the retired Tana Umaga.

The 25-year-old McCaw has already captained the All Blacks in two Tests against Wales in 2004 and Ireland last year. He is the All Blacks’ 60th Test captain.

“As well as a great honour and privilege, it is a big challenge to captain the All Blacks,” said McCaw. “Along with the other team leaders, I hope we can keep improving on the success of the last 18 months and play some exciting rugby. New Zealand has some excellent players right now who are enjoying the game and I’m looking forward to the job.”

“It’s a natural step for Richie McCaw to take on the captain’s role,” said coach Graham Henry. “He has been an All Black since 2001, he is a world class player, and he has led the team well in previous Tests. He has also been a highly successful captain with the Crusaders and with Canterbury.”

Henry also confirmed that McCaw is expected to lead the All Blacks into their 2006 season in Hamilton on 10 June.

“It would be appropriate for Richie to lead the team in the first Test of the year against Ireland.”