8 Feb 2017

McCaw counts himself lucky over head injuries

10:30 am on 8 February 2017

The former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has back World Rugby's new tackle laws conceding luck has played a part in him so far having avoided long term head problems.

McCaw has told the Daily Mail if the law changes attitudes about tackling and makes it safer for players, without ruining the game's played, " I don't see it being a problem."

Richie McCaw counts himself lucky to having come away from 15 years of professional rugby unscathed.

Richie McCaw counts himself lucky to having come away from 15 years of professional rugby unscathed. Photo: Photosport

"If it's done so it doesn't change the game then I'm in favour. When you're playing the game the last thing you want is a swinging arm around the head. That's not why you play the game," he said.

McCaw doesn't believe the physical nature of the game will be taken away.

McCaw's view of concussion is informed by the six recorded he suffered in his career, which included a three-month spell on the side-lines in 2004 to recover.

His former All Black team-mate Charlie Ngatai has been sidelined for almost a year after suffering an a a head knock playing for the Chiefs last year and while McCaw is happy with the treatment he received as a player, he admits head injuries remain a concern.

"I wouldn't do anything differently personally."

"One thing I think I was pretty lucky with was that the doctors you put your trust in, our ones anyway, were pretty conservative and I think looked after us in the right way.

"The unfortunate thing with contact sport is that it's a risk. You do get head knocks. If you took all risk away you wouldn't have a game of rugby. So it's a real balancing act.

'But there's a bit of luck involved. There's a couple of guys at home. Charlie Ngatai and co had a head knock that was probably no worse than what others get and recover within a few days. He's a year and still not back playing.

McCaw suffered suffered six concussions during his playing career

"There's no rhyme or reason why someone recovers and another one doesn't. That' s the really scary part I think. If you get a sore hammy they can pretty much say 'six weeks and you'll be alright."

"I got lucky. The fact I can go running and do whatever exercise I want without any pain after 15 years of it I must I'm pretty lucky. I look at the physicality in the past 12 months and think 'jeez is it really like that?' It's worse than it was when I was playing. I guess you get used to it and just get on with it."

"If you look too closely at the game it's silly really when you bash the hell out of each other. But it's fun and if you took the risk out of everything you wouldn't do anything in your life."