WELLINGTON - All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has revealed that his foot injury at last year's Rugby World Cup was so bad that he came close to limping out of their semifinal win over Australia.
McCaw details the true extent of how a broken foot hindered him during the All Blacks' run to the World Cup title in 2011 and how he hid it from coaches, teammates and media in his biography Richie McCaw: The Open Side, extracts of which were published yesterday.
The 31-year-old, who became the first player to chalk up 100 Test wins after beating the Springboks 32-16 at the weekend, says he battled intense pain in the semifinal.
"During the warm-up I didn't feel it too much, but five minutes into the game I felt it again. Something letting go. A clunk or pop or crack. The pain came back.
"It was sore all the way through the semi, but only really sore when the whistle went. One of the most challenging bits was running up the tunnel at half-time. Getting on and off the field was complete agony," he says. McCaw says he had told team doctor Deb Robinson he would play as long as he could but if the pain got too great and it was affecting his decision-making he would quit.
He refused to have the foot X-rayed because he knew the extent of the injury and relied on painkillers to get him through.
He says he did not tell the coaching team, his team and media how bad the injury was.