18 Aug 2015

McCaw emotional on his big night

12:09 pm on 18 August 2015

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw had a lump in his throat as he stepped off Eden Park to a standing ovation during the team's 41-13 thumping win over the Wallabies.

Richie McCaw celebrates his team's win during the Bledisloe Cup rugby union match between the Australian Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks in Auckland on August 15, 2015. FIONA GOODALL

Richie McCaw: "There was a big lump in my throat." Photo: AFP

McCaw and five of his team-mates enjoyed the perfect end to their home Test careers as they celebrated the captain's world-record international appearance with an emphatic second-half performance to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

As McCaw was substituted in the second half with victory well in hand, the capacity 48,450 crowd rose to acknowledge the openside flanker's world record 142nd Test appearance and his last on home soil.

The 34-year-old was presented with a specially embroidered jersey by coach Steve Hansen to mark his 142nd Test, surpassing the record he had held with former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll.

"I'm probably not a guy that gets too emotional but there was a big lump in my throat," said McCaw after the game.

"It's hard to explain, but I didn't want that to stop, that feeling, that moment. It's a memory you always have... even talking about it now you feel a bit of a shiver down the spine - it was just awesome really."

The Test was also the last in New Zealand for other long-serving All Blacks in prop Tony Woodcock, hooker Keven Mealamu, five-eighth Dan Carter and midfield backs Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.

Coach Steve Hansen paid tribute to the group, saying each of them had been great servants to New Zealand rugby.

See how the match unfolded here

Carter, Nonu and Smith, who are all heading to French clubs after the World Cup, were among the stand-outs of a dominant All Blacks performance, with Hansen also giving credit to the go-forward his side got up front.

Carter had been in the spotlight for his display in the All Blacks' 27-19 defeat in Sydney seven days earlier and he responded in style.

"He was special, wasn't he? He was the Dan Carter of old," Hansen said.

"He's got a smile on his face as wide as the Grand Canyon because he knows he has done the job and he's done it under pressure.

"He has been questioned by a lot of people and he's gone out and played a really good game of rugby."

McCaw, who has captained the side a world record 106 times, also paid tribute to his team-mates who were playing their last Tests on Eden Park.

"They're absolute champions. The jersey means a hell of a lot but it's the people who fill it up who are the ones you put in all that energy for," he added.

"Those men have all given a huge amount over the years and I think a lot of the success has come from their talents.

"I've been so lucky to have them side by side and to have gone through the good times and tough times.

"Those men have done their country proud."

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