New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has announced his retirement from rugby. The 34-year-old openside flanker is calling time on a glittering career that culminated in a second consecutive World Cup triumph in October when the All Blacks beat Australia 34-17 at Twickenham.
McCaw retires as rugby union's most capped player with 148 appearances to his name having surpassed Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll.
"Today, I thought about whether it was the right thing to do this. But I'm going to be hanging up my boots," McCaw said. "My last game was for the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final two weeks ago.
"Deep down I didn't want to shut the door totally. Even if that door was just open a little bit. It didn't feel that final until now.
"Had the World Cup gone the way of us being beaten, I'd have wanted to make sure that went right. I wanted to make it about the team and not the individuals and make sure I've made the right decision.
"I sit here with no regrets as a rugby player. That last game as a rugby player was pretty satisfying."
McCaw ends his career boasting an 89% win percentage from his time as All Blacks captain, having been crowned player of the year on three occasions.
His announcement comes the day after the death of All Black great Jonah Lomu. At the press conference to announce McCaw's retirement, those in attendance held a minute's silence for the 40-year-old who died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday 18 November.
"When I became an All Black he was in the team. To play with him was amazing. I remember one of my first games, I climbed off the bus and the mob came towards me and I thought 'this is pretty cool, being an All Black' but they kept going because they only wanted to be near to Jonah.
"There are a lot of people round the world hurting at the loss of a great man."