Richie McCaw is the All Blacks’ most capped player of all time, having represented New Zealand on 116 occasions to date.
During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which culminated with host New Zealand beating France in final, McCaw crowned a 10-year career that started with a man of the match performance against Ireland in 2001.
Unquestionably the greatest player of his generation, McCaw is arguably the most talented rugby player of all time, having won the prestigious IRB World Player of the Year title on no fewer than three occasions, more than any player in history.
In September 2012 after the All Blacks v South African Test in Dunedin, current Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said that McCaw was the greatest rugby player the world has ever seen.
McCaw, 31, has also represented the Crusaders on 120 occasions in Super Rugby, scoring 130 points in the process.
In his autobiography, McCaw recounts for the first time, with brutal honesty, the roots of his family life that defined his character – learning to play the game on the family farm in South New Zealand and being inspired to fly gliders by his war-hero grandfather – and how it gave him the strength to emerge from the lowest moment in his career to become the most successful captain world rugby has ever seen.
Unafraid of playing the game right at the edge and putting his body on the line for his team mates, McCaw has set the standard of what a professional rugby player should be.
Hugely popular and respected, his sheer presence means that he is a natural leader of men both on and off the pitch and his story is not just a brutal account of life on the front line, but an exhilarating portrait of modern rugby.
The Real McCaw: The Autobiography by Richie McCaw (Aurum Press, £20) is currently available from all good bookshops.