Friday 15 December 2017

McCaw wipes the slate clean with Heaslip

NEW ZEALAND captain Richie McCaw says he has "moved on" and carries no grudges from the red card incident that saw Jamie Heaslip sent off in their last Test encounter in June ahead of next month's clash with Ireland.

Heaslip received his marching orders after 15 minutes in New Plymouth for kneeing McCaw at a ruck, with the All Blacks taking advantage of their numerical superiority to romp to a 66-28 victory. The Ireland No8 served a five-week suspension during the summer and has started the season in superb form for Leinster, captaining the province to four victories in a row in October.

McCaw is looking forward to New Zealand's Grand Slam tour, and the Ireland match at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road on November 20, and says the red card incident has been put firmly in the past.

"These things sometimes happen on the field so you just move on," said McCaw. "I definitely do not carry grudges. The Irish game will be the first time we have played at the new stadium so that will be special. I've never had an easy win in Dublin."

Declan Kidney has called Luke Fitzgerald and Brett Wilkinson into his squad ahead of the November 6 clash with South Africa. South African loose-head Wilkinson, who qualifies for Ireland under the residency rule, covers for the injured Marcus Horan.

Fitzgerald was not named in the original 34-man panel but recovered sufficiently from injury to join up with the squad yesterday.

McCaw, meanwhile, insists New Zealand will not allow thoughts of next year's World Cup on home soil to distract them during their Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland.

The All Blacks underlined their status as the world's number one side with an unbeaten success in the Tri Nations earlier this year.

"World Cups are important but in the All Blacks it is not acceptable to turn up and not perform," he said.

"If you don't get things dead right you will be beaten. As soon as you think you're better than anyone else that's when you come unstuck."

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