Former rivals and world media react to the retirement from rugby of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, calling him the best ever rugby player.
"What he has achieved on the field, as an individual and as captain of the All Blacks, is nothing short of unbelievable. Richie will probably go down as the best who has ever played this game." Jean de Villiers, retired South Africa captain.
"You can just see the bruises, the scars that he wears. I do think he's the best rugby player of all time. He's won more trophies and medals than any other player." - Phil Waugh, former Australia flanker.
"Well done to Richie McCaw. The greatest rugby player there ever was and will be. What a champion."
- Ronan O'Gara, former Ireland flyhalf.
"Richie played against the Springboks 26 times (and) we were on the receiving end of his ability 20 times - no player has beaten the Springboks more than him. Ever since he made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders way back in 2001, South African teams have been trying to figure out how to get the better of him. But the real measure of a rugby giant of the game isn't always his statistics and records, rather how he is seen by his peers, and here in South Africa he is very highly regarded."
- Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union.
"For 15 years, he has been a highly respected adversary for Australian teams, and is a class individual, and a tremendous competitor who is deeply admired by fans and his peers. On and off the field, he personified the values of rugby and is one of its finest ambassadors." - Bill Pulver, CEO of the Australian Rugby Union.
"Congrats to Richie McCaw on an incredible career! Thanks for the amazing contribution you made to the game of rugby." - South African Super Rugby side the Sharks.
"Congrats to @AllBlacks captain Richie McCaw on an incredible career. Enjoy your retirement! (hashtag)Legend." England Rugby tweet.
"...it is tempting to record that world rugby has just lost one of its finest referees; or to venture that the All Blacks' loss will be professional wrestling's gain.
"We could even reprint The Daily Telegraph's "Richetty grub" front page that - not very surprisingly - drew an indignant response from Kiwis...
"But coming the day after the sad death of Jonah Lomu, stooping to the kind of taunts that inevitably occur when the two brothers on either side of the ditch squabble over the same toy seems even less edifying than usual.
"The universal grieving for the much-loved Lomu is a simple and obvious example of how the greatest athletes transcend club and country allegiance and, in Lomu's case, the boundaries of the game itself...
"When you saw Lomu accelerating into a gap, or creating one with his wrecking ball body, you didn't merely see a great All Black. You saw the best an athlete can be. Just as, in a very different way, McCaw has been the very best of his type...for all our bleating about McCaw's supposedly dirty tactics and constant yap, his only real sin was not being Australian. "
- Sydney Daily Telegraph columnist Richard Hinds
"These days the 34-year-old McCaw is very much a rarity in choosing to give it away at the peak of his fame, with his eyes already set on new horizons.
"...nothing sums up McCaw better than the manner of his departure. Not for him a brief, mercenary raid on the bank balance of a European club owner or a short, easy hop into a television studio. His next step will be to qualify as a commercial helicopter pilot and refocus on his business and charity interests.
"McCaw's retirement was widely expected but the extent of the hole it leaves is unprecedented. New Zealand being New Zealand, they will cope without him. They always do; it is one of the principal reasons why their standards seldom slip."
- The Guardian rugby writer Robert Kitson
"Classy until the end. Richie McCaw - the single most influential player I have ever seen play the game of rugby and my No 1.
"Richie McCaw's retirement draws down the curtain on arguably the greatest playing career of all time..confirmation of McCaw's departure is a major blow to New Zealand rugby.
"While (Jonah) Lomu has rightly been hailed as the man who redefined wing play, McCaw cannot be said to have completely changed the way openside flankers play the game. He just played the game better than anyone else.
"His longevity was testament to his own remarkable determination and endurance, allied to superb management by the All Black hierarchy, who were able to reduce his playing workload for the Canterbury Crusaders as he moved into the twilight of his career."
- Sam Peters for MailOnline