McCaw's World Cup desire
McCaw's World Cup desireSHARE
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has set his sights on the World Cup, but would walk away before then if his form or desire fades.
The 32-year-old has a shot to become the first captain to retain the World Cup, and the first New Zealander to win it on foreign soil if he lifts the Webb Ellis Cup again at Twickenham in 2015.
He has had his share of injuries, and struggled through the World Cup victory in New Zealand in 2011 with a chronic foot injury, but a six month break at the start of the year saw him lead the All Blacks to 14 victories this year.
The 124-Test veteran told Sunday News that the key is to sustain the desire to play the sport at the highest level.
"People say ‘Are you hanging in till then?'. That's the wrong way to look at it.
"You've got to really want to be there, to enjoy it, and be excited by it. It's not a matter of limping through just to be at a World Cup. You've got to enjoy it and perform all the way through.
"As long as I keep that desire, enjoyment and performance there, I'd love to be able to. [But] if for any reason that changes, you've got to do the right thing for the team and yourself," he said.
He added that while he is confident of being able to keep his standards as high through to 2015, he is also focusing on short-term goals such as getting through Super Rugby next season.
"It's definitely do-able. But if there is a reason to question things, we've got to have those honest conversations. Hopefully, you don't need to, but you trust that the team comes first.
"The big thing is not to get ahead of yourself. I'm looking at Super Rugby next year and doing that spot-on, because just hanging in there doesn't do anyone any good," he said.
The All Black skipper said that to go through the year unbeaten was particularly satisfying, but warned that they need to work hard to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
"We've adapted and added to the way we're trying to play. We're by no means perfect yet and we all understand that if we don't keep progressing we'll get overtaken.
"We saw over the last three weeks [of the tour] there's bugger all between all these teams and if you don't quite get it right you come unstuck. But we've got a good mix of guys introduced to test footy over the last couple of years, and some experience there. It's a good balance," he said.
McCaw said that one area his team can improve on is their possession statistics which could be better.
"We've had lopsided possession and territory counts over the last three tests, and we've got to work out why that is, because if you give teams enough time with the ball they're going to put you under pressure," he said.