Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is admired by rugby fans all around the world. Love him or hate him, what McCaw achieved in the game is nothing short of spectacular.
McCaw famously led the All Blacks to a drought-breaking World Cup triumph in 2011, having ended 24 years of pain for rugby fans in New Zealand – and did so while playing with a broken foot.
Then, four years later, the legendary flanker became the first-ever two-time World Cup winning captain in rugby union history.
For many New Zealanders, the opportunity to meet McCaw would make their day, week or possibly even their year.
The aura that McCaw has in New Zealand is something special, and even the players around him understood the significance of his playing career.
But sometimes, footy is footy.
All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor has opened up about the time he “got mad at Richie” – and why he said “sorry” afterwards.
“I actually got mad at Richie McCaw once,” Taylor said on the What a Lad podcast.
“He dropped a lineout to the back dead cold and because I was so nervous throwing to him, and it was a perfect seed and he dropped it cold.
“I didn’t spray him… I would never spray Richie McCaw, let’s get that clear. There’s no way I’ve earned the right to do that.
“Then I said sorry,” Taylor joked.
Taylor made his All Blacks debut back in 2015, and went on to become a world champion as part of McCaw’s legendary World Cup squad.
The Super Rugby veteran has won six Super Rugby titles in as many years with the champion Crusaders, and has been a mainstay of the All Blacks matchday side for quite some time.
While Taylor is only 32, he’s already etched his name into New Zealand Rugby folklore.
Reflecting on his All Blacks career so far in a conversation with Crusaders assistant coach James Marshall, Taylor spoke about “one of my memorable Tests.”
After making his debut, the hooker was named on the bench for the All Blacks’ crunch clash with the Springboks in South Africa.
With the game in the balance, midfielder Malakai Fekitoa made a memorable 45 metre run which ultimately laid the foundations for the go-ahead try.
Inside the final 10 minutes, the All Blacks had a lineout about five metres out – and Taylor was tasked with throwing the ball in.
Reminiscent of their iconic try in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final, the All Blacks came up with something special.
Ben Franks turned to face Taylor, while future captain Kieran Read was lifted in a pod out the back. But the ball wasn’t going to either of those men.
Instead, Taylor threw the ball to Richie McCaw – who was standing at halfback – who ended up scoring without much hassle.
“In my debut, I didn’t do too much. I managed to get the wee meat pie.
“Then my second Test was probably one of my most memorable Tests to be honest because we went straight to South Africa after the Argie game.
“For me, I felt like that was the real trial because they named me off the bench again, kept Kevie out.
“To me that was list, ‘I know what they’re doing here… if I s*** the bed then I’m probably gone.’
“I think I got about 20 minutes in that game, it was a hell of an arm wrestle game… We were losing when we came on, we had a lineout five (metres out).
“It was a six man lineout, the prop turned and faced me to pretend to get it and the pod went back, and Rico was at halfback and he ran and we just threw it over the top.
“I remember when they called it, it’s not a big throw but I was like, ‘S*** here we go.’ We scored and we managed to get in front and I was like, ‘F*** that was one of the best feelings I’ve had as an All Black.’
“That moment helped set me up to get me over to that World Cup.”