McCaw ready for 'biggest test'
Hosts want to prove themselves on the biggest stage
Last Updated: September 8, 2011 3:51pm
McCaw: Relishing Tonga test
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is ready to deal with the pressure of an expectant New Zealand public as they face Tonga on Friday.
The hosts have not won the trophy since 1987, but are red-hot favourites to do so on home soil and to sweep aside the challenge of Tonga in the tournament's opening game in Auckland.
"That is what motivates me - to test yourself in the toughest environment. And, when you do that and succeed, that is when you can be satisfied."
Richie McCaw Quotes of the week
"It is a stage where everyone is at their peak, and you have got to be if you want success," said McCaw.
"That is what motivates me - to test yourself in the toughest environment. And, when you do that and succeed, that is when you can be satisfied.
"A World Cup is the biggest stage, and you want to prove yourself."
New Zealand arrive at the World Cup following successive Tri Nations defeats against South Africa and Australia, but McCaw added: "History has shown that what has happened previously - good or bad - means nothing come kick-off."
Although Tonga are rank outsiders to threaten New Zealand, an All Blacks team containing the likes of McCaw, Dan Carter, Sonny Bill Williams and exciting new full-back Israel Dagg know there is a job to be done.
"There is no complacency in this group," said All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith.
"We are very aware of what they (Tonga) pose. They have got some of the biggest runners in world rugby.
"You don't want a soft pool, and we haven't got one.
"I think they will test us physically and they will test us with their athleticism. They are all good rugby players."
Worcester hooker Aleki Lutui, the most experienced player in Tonga's squad after making his Test debut 12 years ago, is ready to meet the All Blacks' challenge head-on before an anticipated 60,000 Eden Park crowd.
"We are going to front them up because in most games we are going to be relying on our forwards. That's a big part of our game," he said.
"Our strength is our forwards. It's a big role for us, and physicality is going to be right up there."