Richie McCaw talks Ronan O'Gara at Crusaders, Schmidt, flying helicopters and

Richie McCaw. Picture by: Kai Schwörer/DPA/PA Images

The last time Richie McCaw featured for New Zealand, the All Black legend was lifting the Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup trophy aloft for the second time.

The former Crusaders Super Rugby player joined Nathan Murphy on Thursday night’s show as a clash with an expected long-term impact looms between the New Zealand he captained for so long and an Ireland team tipped to rival them in Japan next Autumn.

These days, he’s not as immersed in rugby as he explained to Nathan.

“Apart from coming to the odd game here and there to watch as a fan, I really have taken a full step back from it and actually I’m pretty much full-time flying helicopters as a commercial pilot now,” he said.

“So that’s now my new day to day gig and it’s a lot of fun.”

The 37-year-old explained that day-to-day, his tasks as a pilot revolve around tourism, commercial utility work and also serving as an instructor. 

In terms of coaching ambitions, “never say never” is the mantra, although McCaw is satisfied with the road he has taken post-retirement as a player.

The former New Zealand captain also talked about Ireland legend Ronan O’Gara’s role as a coach at his native Crusaders. 

“He’s had a pretty good impact the first year he’s been there,” said McCaw of O’Gara.

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Ireland’s Ronan O’Gara tackles Richie McCaw of New Zealand ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

“It’s a long way to come for something a bit unknown to learn and offer what you have. From what the guys said, towards the end of the season, some of the things he brought were a little bit different approaches to the way we do it was hugely valuable and he’s such a good bloke. He fitted into the Crusaders environment pretty easily by all accounts.”

And on the upcoming game between Ireland and the All Blacks, he feels New Zealand won’t be looking too far ahead of themselves beyond the match itself.

“The two South Africa tests were some of the best learnings the team has had for a while,” said McCaw of tight games against the Springboks in which they narrowly won one encounter and lost another by the same two-point margin.

“They didn’t quite get home in one which perhaps they perhaps had enough opportunities to. And then probably a week or two weeks later in South Africa, they probably had no right to win that game but they found a way and I think that’s a massive learning and confidence thing that the team take out of it.”

As a former back-rower himself, he’s taken a keen interest in a potent Irish one and spoke of his huge respect for Sean O’Brien and also pointed to Munster captain Peter O’Mahony.

“The Kiwi boys are going to have a huge challenge when they’re out there,” he said, also pointing out that there’s a growing awareness about the threat Ireland now pose within New Zealand. 

As for Joe Schmidt, McCaw says the New Zealander and Ireland coach is a “definite contender” to succeed current All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen when the latter decides his future.