Farewell to the greatest of them all

Richie McCaw holds aloft the Rugby World Cup late last month, after what turned out to be his last ever game. As decent a last game as any! Image: ABC Grandstand

It’s been a rough 24 hours for New Zealand. The news of the great Jonah Lomu’s sudden passing on Wednesday morning certainly caught NZ, and indeed, the entire rugby world by surprise. It was and is incredibly sad news.

Richie McCaw’s retirement announcement today wasn’t much of a surprise, but the thought of not playing the game any more will certainly take some getting used to. And there’s no real sadness, only celebration, because McCaw will go down in history as one of, if not the greatest player ever to lace up a boot. I’ve certainly got no qualms in saying he was the best player I’ve ever seen, and I count myself as privileged to have seen him from as close as I have over the last few years, for both the Crusaders and the All Blacks.

And from that point, it was certainly a privilege to talk to him earlier this year, after his last ever game for the Crusaders, live on ABC Grandstand, after their win over the Brumbies in the final round of the 2015 Super Rugby season..

#ThreePoints: Carter and McCaw were class from day one

Daniel Carter and Richie McCaw will wear the Crusaders jersey one last time this Saturday. Image via ESPNscrum

Daniel Carter and Richie McCaw will wear the Crusaders jersey one last time this Saturday. Image via ESPNscrum

ESPNscrum.com: Super Rugby Round 17 was the one that did what the previous two months worth of action couldn’t – narrow the field of contenders back to just six. It seems we’ve been running with ten and eleven teams in contention all season, and even last weekend still had nine teams in the hunt.

Now, it’s just six, but there’s still a lot to play for this weekend; five of the seven games can have some degree of impact on the final placing of teams two to six.

At this point, I’d normally mention a few things to have stood out in Round 17, but we’re going to do things a little different this week.

The Crusaders will, this weekend, bid farewell to a couple of genuine modern legends of the game. The class of Richie McCaw and Dan Carter was evident from the day they first pulled on the Red and Black, and later, of course, the Black jersey itself.

In this special edition of Three Points, I’ve handed the column over to three men who witnessed these two giants of the modern game from very close quarters.