Mccaw signs new All Blacks deal

by staff

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has signed a four-year deal to stay with New Zealand rugby through to the 2015 World Cup.

The talismanic skipper joined star five-eighth Dan Carter in re-committing to the All Blacks and Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders and both are now in line to compete at a fourth World Cup.

Like Carter, McCaw has a "sabbatical" clause built into his latest contract allowing him to play overseas for a period if the lure of the riches on offer outside New Zealand becomes too tempting.

It means the New Zealand Rugby Union have managed to keep their top two players, easing fears about the effects of an exodus after the World Cup in New Zealand from September 9-October 23.

"I'm pleased to confirm that I have re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) for four more years," the 30-year-old McCaw said in a statement.

"I still have the hunger and desire to continue to play for the All Blacks and the Crusaders and there are still things I want to achieve as a player."

The deal means McCaw will have played his entire career in New Zealand, even though the 94-Test veteran could command a huge pay packet from cash-rich overseas clubs.

McCaw, a three-time International Rugby Board player of the year, is New Zealand's most-capped Test captain, having led his country in 57 internationals.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry hailed McCaw's move, describing him as the most influential player in world rugby.

"His on-field impact is immense, he's an outstanding player who leads and inspires others by his actions," Henry said.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew noted that McCaw's on-field All Blacks partnership with Carter was a common denominator in much of the success that has been achieved over the past seven years, with McCaw and Carter playing 51 tests together for an 88 per cent success rate.

"That alone shows how invaluable they are to New Zealand rugby, so to have both players continuing with us for the next four years is fantastic news," Tew said.

Pressure is now mounting on the NZRU to re-sign All Blacks and Crusaders centre Sonny Bill Williams.

His Super Rugby coach Todd Blackadder said on Tuesday the former NRL star was just as important to New Zealand rugby as Carter and McCaw.

Williams, who comes off contract with the NZRU after this year's World Cup, is reportedly being chased by rugby and league clubs around the world.