Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Top Halberg moments: Magic moment as crowd farewells McCaw

Richie McCaw shares a hongi with a fan after walking off Eden Park. Photo / Dean Purcell
Richie McCaw shares a hongi with a fan after walking off Eden Park. Photo / Dean Purcell

The All Blacks' crushing Bledisloe Cup win over Australia at Eden Park gave Richie McCaw the perfect farewell to New Zealand footy fields.

This August night was already etched in history, because McCaw's 142nd test took him past the the world mark originally set by Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll.

With the All Blacks well on the way to a 41 - 13 win, Steve Hansen could replace McCaw with 12 minutes to go, giving the crowd a chance to honour the humble and legendary All Black captain. McCaw charged towards the bench like he charged everywhere else. The crowd stood, and cheered, for the man who never stops.

I will never forget that moment, the sudden realisation that this was it, the last time most of us at the ground would see him playing in the flesh.

McCaw said: "I'm probably not a guy that gets too emotional but there was a lump in my throat I tell you.

It's hard to explain ... but I didn't want that feeling, that moment, to stop.
It's a memory you'll always have. Even talking about it now you feel a little shiver down your spine. It was awesome, really."

Other famous players were also making their last appearances on home soil - Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Blues frontrowers Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu. But with no disrespect to them, this was McCaw's night and it was lumps in throats all round.

No script was provided, or needed. Everyone played their part.

Kiwi sports fans can vote for their choice by text message (once per day) or online at www.sportingmoment.co.nz.

How to vote:


Voting is now open for the Radio Sport Sporting Moment award. You can vote once a day from now until 9.00pm on Thursday 18 February 2016.

1. Online
Vote at www.sportingmoment.co.nz

2. TXT
Text your Radio Sport Sporting Moment's unique code to 818:
1. Txt Sm1 to 818 to vote for SKYCITY Breakers
2. Txt Sm2 to 818 to vote for Grant Elliott
3. Txt Sm3 to 818 to vote for Kiwis
4. Txt Sm4 to 818 to vote for The Highlanders
5. Txt Sm5 to 818 to vote for Vodafone Warriors
6. Txt Sm6 to 818 to vote for Richie McCaw
7. Txt Sm7 to 818 to vote for Lydia Ko
8. Txt Sm8 to 818 to vote for All Blacks
9. Txt Sm9 to 818 to vote for Ross Taylor
10. Txt Sm10 to 818 to vote for Football Ferns
Standard text fees apply on all text votes.

Everyone who votes in the Radio Sport Sporting Moment Award before midnight on the 9 February, 2016 goes in the draw to win a trip for two including flights and accommodation to the 53rd Halberg Awards at Vector Arena, Auckland on Thursday 18 February 2016. Visit www.sportingmoment.co.nz to read the competition terms & conditions.

- NZ Herald

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