Double Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw is expected to confirm his decision to retire from rugby this week, New Zealand media reported on Sunday.
McCaw, who turns 35 on 31 December, led the All Blacks to their 3rd Rugby World Cup triumph 2 weeks ago when his side beat trans-Tasman rivals Australia 34 / 17 in the final at a packed Twickenham stadium in London.
The All Blacks were the 1st team to retain the trophy, after the openside flanker led the team to victory in 2011 while playing with a broken foot.
McCaw had done little to dampen expectations that he would retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup, though never explicitly said he would, preferring to state he would not make up his mind until the global showpiece ended.
He was not named last month in the Canterbury Super Rugby squad for 2016 though New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Crusaders said there was space for him if he chose to play on.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew told reporters on Friday that McCaw had asked for a little more time after the Rugby World Cup to make up his mind.
“He won’t be too far away from getting to that point and I think if we give him a little bit more space and have a little bit more patience we will all be rewarded with the ultimate answer shortly,” Tew said.
Local media reported on Sunday that McCaw would make an announcement on his playing future on Thursday.
McCaw, who has played in a world record 148 Tests, would join fellow centurions Keven Mealamu (132) and Tony Woodcock (118) in hanging up their boots.
Daniel Carter (112), Ma’a Nonu (103) and Conrad Smith (94) have also ended their New Zealand careers by joining clubs in France.