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Richie McCaw, who was named World Rugby's player of the decade this week, says his former teammate Dan Carter could've easily taken out the award.
McCaw was given the prestigious award over fellow All Black nominees Carter, Kieran Read, Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett, as well as France's Thierry Dusautoir, Irish first five Johnny Sexton and Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit.
The former All Blacks captain said it was a privilege to win the award over such a strong group of players.
"I feel very privileged to be awarded something like this, especially when you've been out of the game for a few years now," he told Newstalk ZB. "When you look at the calibre of players throughout that period, it's very humbling."
McCaw also paid tribute to Carter and the other All Black finalists in the category, who he says were all "worthy winners" of the award.
"My old mate Dan Carter there's no doubt he must've been pretty close. I was lucky in my time playing for the All Blacks having a guy like that as a number 10 who directs things ... pretty lucky to have him in my team which helped for a lot of success.
"I think you could've made an argument for all those All Blacks guys – Beauden [Barrett] and Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick. I played alongside all those fellas and they're all worthy winners of those awards each of those years.
"It's quite hard to pick who was better or what. It's all a bit subjective isn't it. But I think always when you get an award like this, you realise you can't get it without having a good bunch of people around you."
McCaw led the All Blacks to two World Cup triumphs in the decade and was named player of the year in 2010. He retired at the end of the 2015 World Cup.
He played 68 of his 148 test matches for the All Blacks between 2010 and 2019 – he was captain for all but one, against Namibia at the 2015 Rugby World Cup – with a record of 61 wins, two draws and five losses.
McCaw also made the team of the decade alongside All Blacks Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Carter, Retallick, Sam Whitelock and Owen Franks.