Steve Hansen hails New Zealand legend Richie McCaw

Steve Hansen praises Richie McCaw ahead of his 100th game as New Zealand captain

Steve Hansen paid tribute to his captain Richie McCaw ahead of the flanker’s 100th match leading New Zealand.

The three-time IRB player of the year will line up against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday for the 137th time for his country and faces the side he first took on as skipper a decade ago.

McCaw has been a prominent figure in the All-Blacks line up and was captain as his side won the World Cup in 2011 for the second time.

“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,” Hansen said.

“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.”

Saturday’s match will also be a special occasion for hooker Kevin Mealamu, who will be playing a record 362nd first-Class match.

Mealamu who has played 122 Tests for New Zealand starts on the bench on Saturday with Dane Coles handed the starting jersey at hooker.

McCaw is joined by Jerome Kaino and Kieran Reid in a formidable back row while Beuden Barrett starts at fly-half in place of Dan Carter.

“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.

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)

Reserves:

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)

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