Mccaw set for his century

by staff

Richie McCaw says doing his part for the team will be more important than personal glory when he reaches a major New Zealand rugby landmark.

McCaw, 30, will be the first player to gain 100 All Blacks caps when he leads his team in the Rugby World Cup Pool A fixture against Japan in Hamilton on Friday night.

"When you start, you just want to play another one and another one," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"To get to 100, I suppose, is pretty awesome."

But the openside flanker adds that the achievement is something to reflect on afterwards.

Throughout his career, he has striven not just to make up the numbers.

"Personal stuff and that aside, it's about doing it for the team," he said.

"Ultimately, it's about the team performing."

McCaw won his first cap in a 40-29 win over Ireland in Dublin in November 2001.

While the match itself "wasn't flash", the fact that it was his debut Test puts it among those he remembers most fondly.

He has gone on to captain the All Blacks 62 times and scored 19 Test tries.

Coach Graham Henry described McCaw's century as "a marvellous milestone".

Henry said McCaw is "truly inspirational" for his team-mates and for New Zealand in the person he is and the way he plays the game.

Asked about McCaw's main attributes, Henry replied: "His steel, his bravery, his ability to lead from the front and by example, and the respect players have for him."

Dan Carter was named to play alongside McCaw in his milestone game, but the star playmaker may still miss the game due to injury.

The ace pivot was slammed in the back in one of many torrid collisions during the All Blacks' opening World Cup Test against Tonga and has not fully stretched out at training since.

Henry said although Carter was named in the side he still has to complete a training session and the coaches were prepared to change the line up if need be.

"It's up to Dan to let me know whether he's right or not," Henry said.

"He's keen to play, obviously, but he won't play unless he's right."

Carter's understudy Colin Slade has been named on the bench for the Japan game as has third-choice fly-half Piri Weepu, who is providing cover for Andy Ellis in his primary position of scrum-half.

Hooker Keven Mealamu says the All Blacks want to make sure McCaw has a night to remember.

"As a team, we really want to make it as much of armchair ride as we can," Mealamu said.

"We want him to look back on his 100th and say, `Man, it was an awesome game'."