Richie McCaw has cut his ties with rugby - and is hinting it might stay that way.

The double World Cup winning captain told NewstalkZB's Mike Hosking he was busier than he imagined since retiring from playing, although that was of his own doing.

Listen to Richie McCaw on the Mike Hosking Breakfast:

"I'm not involved with rugby at all...I always wanted it to be a bit like that.

Advertisement

"I'll still be a fan (but) I don't want to be hanging around...the guy who is almost there but not quite. Down the track? Maybe."

McCaw left the strong impression that he was thoroughly enjoying life after playing rugby. He is keeping up his fitness, having decided it was better to do that than starting from scratch again. Watching his fiancé Gemma Flynn, the New Zealand hockey player, prepare for the Olympics made it impossible to "sit there and do nothing".

One of the reasons he had shunned overseas playing offers was a desire not to break connections and lose post-rugby opportunities he had forged in this country. "(Overseas) money wasn't the right reason...I wanted to get on with something else."

Richie McCaw tells NewstalkZB's Mike Hosking that the award was humbling. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Richie McCaw tells NewstalkZB's Mike Hosking that the award was humbling. Photo / Jason Oxenham

And in another hint that rugby would remain on the backburner, having more time to indulge his well-known passion for flying was giving him enjoyment which almost matched what he experienced in rugby. His aims included working towards his commercial helicopter licence.

In typical McCaw fashion, he emphasised that rugby was a team game when asked about being named New Zealander of the Year.

He told Hosking that it was tough to compare what he did with the other nominees, sexual violence campaigner Louise Nicholas and businessman and environmentalist Rob Fenwick. "Louise and Rob, what they've done is pretty cool. I said last night 'I've only been a rugby player'. I must say it's pretty humbling."

"It makes you pretty proud to be a Kiwi when you hear the stories [of others' achievements]... it's pretty inspiring."

But it was a privilege to bring a lot of joy to other people doing something he loved.

On the All Blacks, he described Steve Hansen as "a pretty special coach" and said Hansen had "pretty good cattle to start with" in terms of building a new era.

"He knows the parts to be fixed up," said McCaw, without elaborating.