McCaw thrilled to reach RWC final

Date published: October 24 2015

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw cut a happy but relieved figure after his side's semi-final win over South Africa.

McCaw now has the chance to become the first captain to win back-to-back World Cups when the All Blacks face either Argentina or Australia next weekend after they edged past South Africa 20-18 at Twickenham.

"Today I was proud of what the guys did. I said yesterday it would be a big step up and it was with the intensity and physicality… it was right up there. It's pretty satisfying to come out on the right side of a contest like that," McCaw said.

Highlighting how important his side's composure was in dying stages, McCaw referenced last weekend's frantic end to the quarter-final between Australia and Scotland.

"Those two late lineouts were two big moments," he added.

"In a game as tight as that, they are the difference. Another example was in the Australia-Scotland game where a lineout cost the Scottish.

"We realised that rather than being scared of that, you back yourselves based on all of the practice you've done to nail those moments.

"We had the composure and you have to think that the opposition are feeling the pressure as well. Being in the right area of the field at the end certainly made things easier."

McCaw lowered his head as New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen paid a glowing tribute to his captain when referencing how the side had kept their cool in the dying stages.

"We've probably got the greatest player and skipper ever in the game from a New Zealand point of view, probably the world – but we won't get ahead of ourselves there," Hansen said.

"Back in 2007 as a young captain he got criticised a lot and I know that hurt him. 

"He's grown. He's grown his leadership skils and he has a leadership group around him that has a massive amount of self-belief, as does he."