9 Jun 2012

McCaw can't wait to get into international rugby again

12:40 pm on 9 June 2012

Saturday night's test season opener against Ireland can't come soon enough for the All Blacks and captain Richie McCaw.

It's been more than seven months since New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup and the men in black have had limited preparation for the opening match of the three-test series, playing Super Rugby just last weekend.

However McCaw says the team's come together well this week and they can't wait to pull on the black jersey for the first time since they lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy.

Coach Steve Hanson has named three new caps in the starting line up: Highlanders' halfback Aaron Smith, Hurricanes' winger Julian Savea and Chiefs' lock Brodie Retallick.

McCaw, who'll earn his 104th cap in the first test of the series, says the debutants need to play their natural game.

Meanwhile, the Irish captain and centre, Brian O'Driscoll, says the All Blacks' 2nd five eighth, Sonny Bill Williams, deserves his place in the starting line up.

O'Driscoll says Williams' game has evolved since embracing the ABs' "team first" mentality.