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McCaw gets emotional as fans pay tribute at final home Test

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 15 Aug 2015

Auckland (AFP) - A standing ovation from 48,000 fans at Richie McCaw's farewell appearance in New Zealand finally broke the All Black skipper's stoic exterior after he played a world record 142nd Test on Saturday."There was a big lump in my throat," McCaw, expected to retire after the World Cup starting in England next month, admitted after leading the All Blacks to a 41-13 thrashing of Australia.The victory made the occasion even more sweet for the legendary openside flanker as he overtook Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll as the world's most-capped player.As the capacity crowd stood and applauded, when McCaw was spelled with the game in the bag 15 minutes from full-time, he found the reception almost too much."I'm probably not a guy who gets too emotional but there was a big lump in my throat I tell you," he admitted at a press conference more than an hour after the final whistle."It's hard to explain -- I didn't want it to stop, that feeling, that moment, it's a memory I'll always have. Even to talk about it now you feel a bit of a shiver down the spine."O'Driscoll led the praise for the popular McCaw, tweeting: "Huge congrats to Richie McCaw in becoming the most capped Test player of all time. No one could be more deserving."The England and Australian rugby unions joined in the flood of tributes, with the Wallabies describing him as "an absolute legend of the game".Defeated Wallabies captain Stephen Moore described McCaw as an outstanding player, adding: "the most important thing about that is he's just a good person".What made the occasion more special for McCaw was the manner in which the All Blacks bounced back from a loss to the Wallabies last week to produce a crushing victory.After withstanding a fiery opening spell by Australia, the All Blacks led 13-6 at half-time before racing away with the game in the second half.The five tries to one victory saw the All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup, played annually between the two countries, for the 13th consecutive year and put New Zealand in the right frame of mind for their World Cup defence."I was really keen to be able to keep the Bledisloe so we could make it memorable. It's something I'm extremely proud of," McCaw said."Sitting on the side near the end when we're up by a few points I had a big grin on my face. Those are the moments you play this game for. To get a personal achievement like that tops it off."Join the conversation about this story
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