Incredibly the All Blacks and McCaw have held the famous trans-Tasman trophy since 2003

CHRIS SKELTON/FAIRFAX NZ
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has helped his team keep the Bledisloe Cup on these shores since 2003.

Not on my watch.

That’s the mentality of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw ahead of what is likely to be his last Bledisloe Cup series.

Incredibly the All Blacks and McCaw have held the famous trans-Tasman trophy since 2003 and the famous openside said his memories of his first win continue fuel his desire to keep the Bledisloe Cup out of Australian hands.

That’s because in 2002, the young Canterbury loose forward caught the back end of a period of Wallabies dominance that had seen them hold the Cup for five years.

“Quite a few blokes had been there through the late 1990s when they hadn’t seen the Bledisloe so to get it back they were pretty excited and for the new fellas that was pretty special. I always remember back how tough it is when you haven’t got it,” McCaw said on the eve of the Rugby Championship decider in Sydney.

“The second game [in 2003] is the one that sits in my mind. It was right down to the wire. There were critical moments in the game, critical line outs that had let us down in the past and the year before had caused us to effectively lose a game. We had to get it right and it came down to that again and we nailed it.”

And after winning the Cup back, McCaw doesn’t want to be part of the team that loses it.

“I’d love nothing better than to keep the Bledisloe in the cupboard, but it’s been like that every year. I still remember how much it meant to those guys [in 2003] to win it back when they didn’t have it. Put yourselves in the Wallabies shoes and they”ll be desperate to get their hands on it.

“That’s what makes it a great occasion. It means so much to both teams. Perhaps because a few of us realise what it was like to not have it and the Wallabies are in that situation at the moment. I never want to give it back. That’s the motivation every time. If I do hang up my boots and we’ve still got it I’ll be pretty happy.”

McCaw is the only survivor from the 2002 side that agonisingly lost 16-14 to the Wallabies in Sydney, while Dan Carter is the only current All Black who was part of the side that finally won it back a year later with a 50-21 win in Sydney and a 20-17 victory in Auckland.

“Those experiences, 2002 when we came up short, where you thought you’d done enough, but you hadn’t. I know teams before that had done the same and to finally get there reminds you how tough it is.

“A message I always give to the guys is how much we value the Bledisloe and having it and the Wallabies are exactly the same. If you go in expecting to get across the line, well they’ll be even more determined and we have to match that. I guess there are always those things in the back of your mind.

“We don’t dwell on it, but myself and guys like DC talk to the guys and those [younger] guys saw it when they were young too, so it doesn’t take much to make them understand how much it means. I always make a point of mentioning that, so they don’t have to experience it.”

www.stuff.co.nz

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About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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