Sir Graham Henry has labelled Richie McCaw the most influential player in rugby history on the eve of the All Blacks captain breaking the world record for the most tests played.

McCaw will play his 142nd test tonight against Australia at Eden Park, breaking the record of former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll, and it's also widely expected to be his last at home before retiring from international rugby at the end of the World Cup.

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw says the Eden Park crowd can help his team put pressure on his old sparring partner Quade Cooper tomorrow. The comment, on the eve of his final test at the All Blacks' fortress, is likely to fuel a response to the Wallabies No10 which always promised to be a hostile one.

Radio Sport's Hash Brown Breakfast talk to Graham Henry.

Radio Sport's Martin Devlin with All Blacks fullback Ben Smith.


Radio Sport's Martin Devlin talks to former All Blacks skipper Todd Blackadder.

Henry has a long association with McCaw, having appointed him captain against Wales in 2004 and the pair eventually won the 2011 World Cup together.

"He's just unbelievable," Henry told Radio Sport. "He's a fabulous leader, intelligent, brave and inspirational to that team. It's hard to find the right words. He has been absolutely fabulous.

"It's great he's achieving this milestone, although it won't mean a lot to him [to be] the most capped rugby player of all time. I think he's probably been the most influential rugby player of all time. We are very, very fortunate to have him as All Blacks captain."

There's a bigger picture at play, however, with both the Bledisloe Cup on the line and a final test before the 31-man World Cup squad is picked. Henry felt it was those elements, and the fact the All Blacks were beaten last weekend, that created the "ideal recipe" tonight.

"It's the ideal opportunity for both sides," he said. "To get beaten in Sydney and come back to Eden Park, their home ground, and play against a very good side... it's an ideal recipe for them to be the best they can be.

"I think they will play well and do the business. That's what my gut tells me. If they don't do the business, I think they have got some concerns but I don't want to go there."

A lot will depend on the two first five-eighths. Australian coach Michael Cheika surprised many, including Henry, with his selection of Quade Cooper and Dan Carter has another opportunity to find the form needed ahead of the World Cup.


"I was surprised [Cooper was selected]," Henry said. "I guess Michael Cheika has half his head on the Rugby World Cup and making sure all his player are in the right frame of mind to do well there so he's trying to do both jobs.

On Carter, he said: "I went to training this week and I think he looked the best I have seen him for some time. He looked great physically and trained very well.

"He hasn't played a lot of football in receipt time. What the All Blacks want from Daniel is to direct the team well. In saying that, you have to have an eight in front of him doing the business and setting the platform. If they do that, Daniel will play well.

"I thought he was unfairly criticised last week. I thought he was pretty sound. We were probably beaten up front last week and you can't afford to do that. If you get dominance up front, he will play well - no doubt about that."