Rugby: New knighthood offer for Richie McCaw, says New Zealand PM

All Black captain Richie McCaw of New Zealand lifts the Bledisloe Cup following their rugby union match between the Australian Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks in Auckland on Aug 15, 2015.
All Black captain Richie McCaw of New Zealand lifts the Bledisloe Cup following their rugby union match between the Australian Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks in Auckland on Aug 15, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON (AFP) - All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who is expected to retire following the World Cup, will again be offered a knighthood to honour his illustrious career, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on Monday.

McCaw turned down an offer to be knighted after leading the All Blacks to victory in the 2011 World Cup saying it was not something he would consider while he was still playing.

But as New Zealand celebrated his record 142nd Test when leading the All Blacks to a 41-13 win over Australia at the weekend, and with retirement expected in two months, Key said there was no doubt a second offer would be made.

"Whether he would take one, I don't now. The offer was there before and I can't imagine anything has changed," Key told New Zealand's TV3.

McCaw has declined to talk about his future beyond the World Cup starting in England next month but Graham Henry, who was knighted after coaching New Zealand to the 2011 World Cup crown, described him as a natural leader.

"He's very bright, very resourceful and very brave. You put all that together and players play for him. He leads from the front," Henry said.

"He knows he has to play well for them to play well. He understands what leadership is about. It's about doing rather than talking, he's got it all."

Henry said he "wouldn't be surprised" if McCaw resumed his studies once he retires. The 34-year-old was part-way through a degree in agricultural science before becoming a full-time rugby player.

He has since become the world player of the year three times, only lost 15 of 142 Tests played, and led New Zealand to win the World Cup four years ago while playing on a broken foot.

He has kept the All Blacks at the top of the world rankings since November 2009.