All Blacks 34 -Wales 16 in McCaws 100th game as captain

A roaring haka echoed through the hallways around Millennium Stadium following the All Blacks 34-16 win over Wales this morning.

It was performed in the All Blacks changing rooms to honour the record breaking feats of captain Richie McCaw and veteran hooker Keven Mealamu.

McCaw led his country in a test for the 100th time, while Mealamu became New Zealand’s most capped first class player passing Colin Meads’ mark of 361 matches when he came off the bench with 15 minutes to play

With the season over, the players could for once reflect on a job”I’m pretty satisfied. It’s one of the great places to play and it was like that today,” McCaw said after a grandstand finish silenced the vocal 72,000 strong crowd.

“When the final whistle goes and you’ve found a way to take the opportunities and come off with what the scoreboard said was reasonably comfortable in the end, it’s a pretty proud moment from a team point of view, and from a personal point of view to get theJOB done.”

Once again, McCaw said the All Blacks had shown the ability to remain calm and composed under pressure as they patiently waited for the crucial moment that would sway the test.

“When you talk about tests being 80 minutes you have to believe it’s not all going to go your way all the time, but it’s never going to go against you all the time either,” he said.

“So it’s about influencing the momentum. Sure there were times when we were down on the scoreboard (16-15) with 10 minutes to go, but we were getting into the gama nd they looked pretty tired.

“All we had to do was hold the ball and when you’ve got guys with the talent we’ve got when an opportunity pops up we take it.”

That moment came in the 70th minute when Beauden Barrett chipped ahead, regathered a perfect bounce and tore through Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny for a brilliant solo try.

“You can see that hurt them mentally and our guys lifted,” McCaw said.

“When you go through experiences often enough you start knowing one moment can have an influence on the rest of the game , and that’s pretty much what happened today.”

Wales did what they could to slow the match down despite McCaw saying he repeatedly asked English referee Wayne Barnes about the delays before every scrum and lineout.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen saw the tactic in play , but said it had not affected his side because they simply accepted it as something they had to adjust to on the day.

“I thought the law said you only have to stop if it’s a front rower at a scrum, but every single one was stopped, but again, we can’t control that so there’s no point getting too worried about it. We have to adapt and adjust.”

Hansen praised Wales’ first half defensive effort as the best the All Blacks had faced this season, but said it had clearly taken a lot of of the home team’s legs by the final quarter.

“We talked about that at halftime. You are asking a team to have that much energy defensively and I don’t think that’s possible for a whole game… I think their issue was they had to defend for long periods and it’s a lot harder defending than it is attacking.”

Hansen said the All Blacks had tried to use their short kicking game in the first half to get behind Wales’ rushing defence, but hadn’t held the ball long enough to create momentum.

He was pleased with the way they had worked things out in the second half in that area with a Barrett cross kick to Conrad Smith creating Jerome Kaino’s try, and another from Colin Slade leading to Barrett’s second try.

Hansen was pleased with the way Barrett and Slade worked as dual pivots in the final 25 minutes and singled out the latter for special praise saying he had done the job for the All Blacks every time he was called on this season.

The Mighty McCaw – remarkable career -another milestone today against Wales

The Mighty McCaw – remarkable career -another milestone on Sat against Wales

with Egon Seconds and Myself

As well as captaining the All Blacks in a Test for the 100th time this weekend (and with a winning record as captain of 89 percent),

McCaw has also achieved several other milestones in his career:

He is a record three-time winner of the IRB (now World Rugby) Rugby Player of the Year,

Been New Zealand Player of the Year four times and New Zealand Sportsman of the Year twice;

He became the first All Black to play 100 Tests when he took the field against France in the pool match of Rugby World Cup 2011;

October 2012 he became the first player to record 100 Test wins when the All Blacks beat South Africa in Soweto

Richie McCaw considered standing down as All Blacks captain after their 2007 World Cup failure.

Richie McCaw considered standing down as All Blacks captain after their 2007 World Cup failure, before realising it was time to man up.

McCaw becomes the first player to lead his country in 100 tests when New Zealand face Wales in Cardiff this weekend (early Sunday NZT).

That figure would have stopped at 23 if he acted on his doubts in the wake of their quarterfinal loss to France seven years ago – also at Cardiff.

“I questioned whether I was good enough to do it or the right person to do it,” he said this week, reflecting on a low point of his stellar career.

Confiding with his parents was followed by a period of soul-searching as the fallout from the tournament swirled around him.

Finally came the realisation he would have a lifetime of regret if he walked away from the job.

“You can either man up and get on with it or drift away and remember that experience as one you couldn’t handle,” he said.

“Being the person I am, as soon as I thought like that I thought: ‘There’s no way I’d want to do that’.

“I remember one day I got over it and got on with it.”

McCaw said the despair of the French loss made beating the same nation to lift the world title on home soil four years later considerably sweeter.

Current coach Steve Hansen was the assistant in 2007 and wasn’t surprised to learn of McCaw’s uncertainty.

“There were a lot of us questioning ourselves after ’07 because we had a team that should have won it, but we stuffed it up,” he said.

Hansen said McCaw was a considerably better captain now, something the 33-year-old happily conceded, believing the Cardiff meltdown was the catalyst for growth both on and off the field.

McCaw said he became hungrier to learn about leadership and has never tired of the pressure and commitments that came with one of the highest stations in the land.

“I don’t think you’d carry on doing it if you didn’t want it,” he added.

“You’ve got to want to put yourself under the pressure that comes with it otherwise you wouldn’t last.”

Hansen said the evolution of a player leadership group around McCaw has made the job easier and been a key part of the All Blacks’ success during his nine-year stewardship.

However, he doesn’t want to detract from the achievements of the 136-test flanker, whose physical deeds and winning legacy are incomparable in rugby.

“He’s grown into probably one of the great leaders of any sports team in the world,” Hansen said.


Richie McCaw leads the All Blacks for the 100th time today lovely story below

Richie McCaw leads the All Blacks for the 100th time on today . RICHARD KNOWLER was in Cardiff to hear coach Steve Hansen and McCaw sift through the memories of a remarkable career.

Steve Hansen tells an amusing anecdote about the time Richie McCaw risked being pummelled by his team-mates.

The eager young flanker had been going berserk at Canterbury trainings in the early 2000s, repeatedly ducking into rucks to steal the ball and, subsequently, annoying senior squad members.

Enough was enough, the old heads agreed. Something needed to be done.

So established forwards Todd Blackadder, Reuben Thorne, Scott Robertson and Angus Gardiner marched up to coach Hansen and demanded he tell McCaw to curb his enthusiasm or they might have to give the cheeky pup a slap.

“Toddy, Reuben, Razor and Angus Gardiner came to me at one point and said ‘look if he comes into another ruck and pinches another ball we are going to snot him’,” Hansen recalled ahead of McCaw’s game against Wales.

“I said ‘if you snot him I will be snotting the lot of you, so leave him alone. He’s only a baby, just look after him and get there quicker than he is’.”

Even back then, Hansen said, McCaw wanted to be the best.

But the coach was also careful to ensure the enthusiastic No 7 didn’t unwittingly make enemies.

“I had to go to him quietly and say ‘let them win a couple, you are starting to piss them off’,” he said.

McCaw, 33, is the current immortal of New Zealand rugby and Hansen wants to ensure his milestone of leading the All Blacks in 100 tests gets the recognition it deserved.

It was Hansen, then working as Canterbury’s academy manager, who saw something special in McCaw as a teenager.

The 18-year-old was playing for Otago Boys’ High School against Rotorua Boys’ in a national secondary schools play-off match at Lancaster Park, setting a firecracker off inside Hansen’s head.

Hansen marched to Steve Tew, then the Canterbury chief executive and now NZ Rugby’s chief executive, and jabbed a finger at him.

“I went into Tewie’s office and said [no matter] how much he costs, just get him. This kid’s special.”

Tew shook his head, reminding him that Canterbury and Otago had a gentleman’s agreement not to poach each other’s players. But Otago made a dreadful mistake. They broke that deal and, suddenly, all bets were off.

“They pinched Sam Harding from Christ’s College, so we got him [McCaw] up to Lincoln College,” Hansen said.

“There was just something about him from day one.”

McCaw joined the academy, was given some extra cash to make him feel appreciated, selected for Canterbury and the Crusaders and in late 2001 debuted for the All Blacks against Ireland.

The first time McCaw led his country was almost 10 years ago to the day – also against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. The All Blacks squeezed home 26-25.

When Tana Umaga retired after the 2005 season, the path was open for McCaw to take the captaincy and there has never been any question of him relinquishing the role – except, of course, after the capitulation to France in the 2007 World Cup quarterfinal in Cardiff.

That really stung McCaw, forcing himself to ask whether he wanted to continue as skipper.

“There was perhaps a point after the 2007 World Cup where I questioned I was good enough to do it, or the right person to do it, which I suppose is natural after a disappointment like that,” McCaw said.

It was, he said, a fleeting moment of self-doubt. He then realised that being a leader stoked his enthusiasm: “You have to want the responsibility, want to put yourself under the pressure that comes with it.”

It was during the redemption tournament of 2011, when McCaw played with a broken bone in his right foot, that Hansen’s admiration for “Ricko” spiked to new levels.

“To do what he did with his foot broken just showed the courage of the man,” Hansen said.

“The mental strength he had to play as well as he did and to be there, to keep the team confident.

“His ability to stay in the fight and get all the way through the tournament was massive. Even after the final – he walked with me to the media conference afterwards and he was exhausted.

“It was over, the relief was immense among all of us but I think, for himself, particularly because he felt a lot of responsibility for ’07. Which wasn’t because it just wasn’t him who lost it, we all lost it.”

McCaw isn’t perfect. He still concedes the penalties for lingering too long at the back of a ruck or for poor timing when lunging for a turnover, and there has been the odd yellow card along the way.

Hansen says his captain has had to learn to be more flexible in his thinking and McCaw admits he is now more open to listening to other senior team-mates.

And he has also learned to never concede.

“One thing I know with rugby, and I always think, is that even when you are under the pump – no matter what – at some point it will change,” McCaw said.

“You have to make it change but it will come back your way and you have to be good enough to take those opportunities.”

– The Press

Wales have long dreamed about defeating the All Blacks.

Wales have long dreamed about defeating the All Blacks. When they defeated New Zealand at the old Arms Park in 1953, they went 3-1 ahead in the series, never mind that all the matches had been played in Cardiff and Swansea.

It is the last match in 2014 for New Zealand who have not tended to finish with a flourish in recent years: they won with the last play of the game in Dublin last year, they were well beaten at Twickenham in 2012 and the previous year were a referee’s decision away from losing the World Cup final against France.

The Millennium Stadium is about more than Wales for the All Blacks, and not just because they will be playing two matches there in next year’s World Cup, assuming they finish in the top two in their group. It was in Cardiff in 2007 where they had an epiphany moment, losing to France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup and suffering their earliest exit from the tournament.

It was a day, never mind the refereeing decisions that did not go their way, when they finished the match in the manner of Wales and England today in the autumn international series, unable to fashion a way to win the match when a drop goal would have taken them into the last four.

There were two significant consequences. First, the coaching team was not sacked having failed to deliver the holy grail and, second, the players, led by the remarkable Richie McCaw who will on Saturday captain the All Blacks for the 100th time in a Test match, pointed out that responsibility was collective and that what happened at the Millennium Stadium was down to them as much as the management.

The upshot has been a more collaborative approach to the game between the players and management, something that has not been apparent with England this month. It is not as if the All Blacks play it one way, a team for all seasons.

Their record since the defeat to France seven years ago leaves them with an 87% success rate. The team second to them in the world rankings, South Africa, has a 66% success rate since the 2007 World Cup.

Which leaves Wales, whose record is just the right side of 50%, with as much chance as normal on Saturday. And yet. Ten of the side have started a Lion Test with an 11th on the bench, the vast majority have been part of two Six Nations title-winning campaigns and many were involved in the last World Cup when they finished fourth and were within a kick of reaching the final.

The Wakes head coach, Warren Gatland, is an All Black who knows what it takes to win. Back in 2010, after he had tried to give his players more decision-making responsibility, he had to take the reins after a poor run of performances.

He reflected that Welsh players preferred to be told what to do, which explains why they invariably come up short against the best in the world at the end of matches. Australia earlier this month should have been their epiphany moment. It is time they stopped hiding.


Jesse Clegg unplugged tour from Nov to Jan 2015 coming to a stage near you .

Jesse Clegg recently returned from a very successful USA tour and performance at Isle of Wight UK, and will be touring extensively at the end of the year.

Jesse has completed several successful shows in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KZN and will be taking his acoustic two-piece show to the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Natal over November and December 2014 and into January 2015

His tour schedule is as follows:-

22 Nov – Laughing Chefs in Pretoria

26 Nov – Bar129 @ Flamingo Casino, Kimberly (Tickets available at Computicket and at the venue)

29 Nov – Hope festival @ Paul Cluver wine estate, Elgin

30 Nov – No.6 restaurant @ Welbedacht wine estate, Wellington (Tickets available at Computicket and at the venue)

30 Nov – Wagon Trail Brewery @ Anura wine estate, Paarl (Tickets available at Computicket and at the venue)

3 Dec – Zanzibar sports bar, George

4 Dec – Whitehouse theatre, Plettenberg Bay (Tickets available at Computicket and at the venue)

5 Dec – Garden Route casino, Mossel Bay

6 Dec – Pig & Whistle Inn, Bathurst

10 Dec – Boeretroos, East London

12 Dec – Potters Place, Jeffrey’s Bay

15 Dec – Blue Peter, Cape Town

16 Dec – Sumaridge wine estate, Hermanus (Tickets available at Computicket and at the venue)

17 Dec – Joostenberg wine estate, Paarl

19 Dec – Café Roux, Noordhoek

20 Dec – De Brasserij, Stellenbosch

26 Dec – Star Bar, Somerset west

28 Dec – Muratie wine estate, Stellenbosch (Tickets available at Computicket and at the venue)

30 Dec – Die Boer, Durbanville

31 Dec – Electric Vines festival, Robertson

2 Jan – Suntouched inn, Napier

3 Jan – Fancourt, George

7 Jan – Bloo Bistro, Knysna

23 Jan – Open Strings, Kloof

24 Jan – The Dutch, Umhlanga

Tickets available from the venues directly or the door on the evening.

Jesse Clegg is a South African alternative rock artist whose 2008 debut album, When I Wake Up, and his 2011 follow up, Life On Mars,have made the 25-year-old a platinum-selling success in his home country. This is a considerable feat in a place where rock is a niche genre.

Jesse has just released his first live and unplugged album which will be available for sale at all these shows.

Jesse uses an Allen and Heath QU16 desk at all his shows and he recorded his new unplugged album on this desk.

Special thanks to Garden Court Nelson Mandela Boulevard for hosting Jesse throughout his Western Cape tour, and also to Hemingway’s in East London and Protea Hotel Marine in Port Elizabeth for hosting Jesse at their hotels.

In 2014, Jesse brought his music to the international stage. He embarked on a seven week tour across the United States and Canada, which comprised of 32 shows in 31 cities. He has also played numerous high profile showcase festivals in the U.S. – including the CMJ Music Marathon, New Music Seminar and the CBGB Festival. In June, Jesse also performed on the main stage at UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.

Descending from a musical family, Jesse spent the first six years of his life on tour with his father, South African singer Johnny Clegg.

Jesse has achieved much in the 5 short years he has been active. He has released 4 Top 10 singles and toured extensively throughout South Africa, playing the biggest festivals in the country. As an official ambassador for the Nelson Mandela 46664 foundation, Jesse has been invited to play at Radio City Music Hall in New York for the 46664 Mandela Day Concert.

He has been nominated for three South African Music Awards over the course of his career.

For any further information

Jeanette Odgers – 011 482 3550

All Blacks team named to play Wales; Inspirational skipper Richie McCaw to bring up century of Tests as captain

The All Blacks team to play Wales in the final Test of the MyRepublic Northern Tour at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, this Saturday 22 November (Kick-off: 5.30PM UKT, 7.30pm SA time 6.30AM Sun 23 Nov NZT) has been named, with the selectors naming a very experienced side to take on the Welsh.

This weekend’s Test will be a special moment for All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who will reach another milestone in his outstanding career when he captains the All Blacks for the 100th time in a Test in his 137th Test.

It will be a fitting occasion, as McCaw captained the All Blacks for the first time against the Welsh exactly 10 years ago today, on 20 November 2004, in his 25th Test.

The team to play Wales is (Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV:

1. Wyatt Crockett (35)
2. Dane Coles (26)
3. Owen Franks (66)
4. Brodie Retallick (35)
5. Samuel Whitelock (61)
6. Jerome Kaino (55)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (136)
8. Kieran Read (71)
9. Aaron Smith (37)
10. Beauden Barrett (27)
11. Julian Savea (32)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (22)
13. Conrad Smith (84)
14. Charles Piutau (13)
15. Ben Smith (37)


16. Keven Mealamu (122)
17. Joe Moody (7)
18. Charlie Faumuina (26)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (6)
20. Liam Messam (39)
21. TJ Perenara (10)
22. Colin Slade (16)
23. Ryan Crotty (12)

The selectors have named an experienced starting forward pack, with hooker Dane Coles and props Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks making up the front row. LocksBrodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock return to the second row, while McCaw is re-joined by the hard-hitting Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read in the back row. The All Blacks also have experienced forward firepower to call on from the bench, with 122-Test hooker Keven Mealamu, prop Charlie Faumuina and loose forward Liam Messam complementing the younger duo of lock Patrick Tuipulotu and prop JoeMoody.

In the backs, halfback Aaron Smith will start his 12th Test of the year, while first five-eighth Beauden Barrett has been given the 10 jersey. Sonny Bill Williamsand Conrad Smith, in his 85th Test, are in the midfield, while Julian Savea andCharles Piutau are on the wings and Ben Smith is at fullback. The back reserves are halfback TJ Perenara, Colin Slade and Ryan Crotty.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “This was a very difficult team to select as we have a lot of players in great form. However, we believe this is the right combination of 23 players to represent the All Blacks and New Zealand very proudly on Saturday.

“It’s always a great occasion to play at Millennium Stadium, which is one of the great stadiums in the world. We have had a good week’s preparation and we are expecting a physical Test with a high ‘ball-in-play’ time. We know we will have to be totally engaged in our own roles for the full 80 minutes and take the game to the Welsh at every opportunity.”

Hansen also paid tribute to McCaw and Mealamu, who will also go into the New Zealand rugby record books when he comes off the bench on Saturday, playing his 362nd first-class game.

“On behalf of the team and myself, we would like to congratulate Richie on the impressive milestone of captaining his country in 100 Test matches. There is no doubt his leadership has grown phenomenally over the years and he is now one of the all-time great leaders of any sports team.

“We would also like to congratulate Kevie in advance of his achievement. He is a wonderful player and ambassador for the All Blacks and his country,” Hansen said.

Key milestones

* The All Blacks and Wales have played 29 Tests since 1905, with the All Blacks winning 26 matches and three wins for the Welsh. The last Test was in Cardiff in November 2012 when the All Blacks won 33-10.

%d bloggers like this: