Richie McCaw will be given a six-month break from rugby in 2013.
This is part of the All Blacks captain’s sabbatical clause in his contract with the NZRU.
While he’s allowed to enjoy a stint overseas, the player has rather opted to take a break. The time away from rugby is expected to give the 31-year-old the opportunity to refresh physically and mentally to prolong his career and strengthen the hopes of playing at the next World Cup in 2015.
After discussions with the NZRU, All Blacks and Crusaders management, it’s been decided that McCaw will start his break after the the end-of-year tour to Europe. The loose forward will miss the bulk of Super Rugby and the All Blacks’ June Test series against France.
‘I’m pretty keen to play as long as I can especially for the All Blacks, and in New Zealand; the break will hopefully allow me to play a bit longer,’ said McCaw.
‘Part of it is physical, but it’s also mental. Over the years I’ve never really had more than a couple of months off unless it’s been injury-related. So to be able to take a break, reassess and then play whatever time I’ve got left is a good opportunity.’
McCaw also believes extended breaks will help him to make an impact at Test level over the next four years and rejuvenate his passion for the game.
‘The big thing I want to make sure is there is not a perception I’m just hanging in there and just being around for the sake of it. I still want to do it right and having that break is going to hopefully invigorate the next couple of year,’ he explained.
‘The body takes a pounding regularly but it’s when you lose that desire to get yourself over that and ready for the next week, that’s when you start to have enough. Sometimes having a break here and there reminds you how much fun it is when you put the jersey on. I still absolutely love it.’
No 8 Kieran Read will lead the Crusaders in McCaw’s absence during Super Rugby. McCaw also expects Read to take over the All Blacks captaincy.