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"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."
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."
Image 1 of 21DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 19: A copy of a photograph showing Tom Palmer, (front row 4th R) the England lock, who used to play for the Otago Boy
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Image 3 of 21All Blacks flanker Richie McCaw leaves Wallabies centre Mat Rogers in his wake, during the final test match between the All Blacks and Australia for t
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Image 6 of 21Canterbury captain Richie McCaw holds aloft the trophies after their win, 40-27, against Wellington in the Air NZ NPC first division final at Westpac
Image 7 of 21All Blacks flanker Richie McCaw takes on the defence of the British & Irish Lions, during the 2nd test at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on Saturday nig
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Image 9 of 21All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and team-mate Carl Hayman during the 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final between New Zealand and France at the Millenni
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Image 11 of 21New Zealand captain Richie McCaw leads the haka challenge against Australia in the Trinations rugby test at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday
Image 12 of 21Crusaders Richie McCaw, centre caught up in a scrap with the Brumbies in the Super 14 rugby match, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, May
Image 13 of 21Crusaders Super Rugby player Richie McCaw has some fun in the bumper boats at Rainbows End, Manukau, to launch the Investec Super Rugby 2012 season. 1
Image 14 of 21Umpire Richie McCaw signals a wide during the Fill the Basin for Canterbury charity cricket match between Canterbury and Wellington at the Basin Reser
Image 15 of 21BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Richie McCaw of the All Blacks (L) jostles Quade Cooper of the Wallabies (R)during the Tri-Nations Bledisloe Cup mat
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Image 17 of 21New Zealand All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds aloft the Webb Ellis Cup, after their win against France, during the Rugby World Cup final match bet
Image 18 of 21Canvas: Best of 2011. The New Zealand All Blacks captain Richie McCaw leaves the field with the Webb Ellis Cup after winning the final of the RWC 201
Image 19 of 21All Blacks captain Richie McCaw waves goodbye to Eden Park fans after winning against Australia during the Bledisloe Cup test match between the All Bl
Image 20 of 21All Blacks captain Richie McCaw hongi with fan after the All Blacks win in the rugby test match between the All Blacks and Australia played at Eden Pa