Hansen backs break for McCaw
Sat, 22 Sep 2012 6:24p.m.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says it makes sense for skipper Richie McCaw to exercise his option of taking a break from rugby before the next World Cup.
McCaw's contract with the NZRU, which runs through to the 2015 tournament, has a six-month sabbatical clause.
There has been speculation that the 110-Test loose forward could choose to miss next season's Super Rugby competition.
Hansen says it will be up to McCaw whether and when to exercise the clause, but is in favour of him having a breather at some stage.
"If we want to get him through to the next World Cup, then it would be a good idea if he uses it at some point," he says.
"But nothing has been finalised that I'm aware of at this point."
Speaking before the All Blacks departed for Argentina for their Rugby Championship Test next week, Hansen adds: "At the end of the day, Richie is a smart enough man to know what his body needs."
McCaw, 31, made a late start to this season's Super Rugby competition after recovering from surgery for a troublesome foot injury that he played with during last year's World Cup.
Test team-mate Conrad Smith believes somehow lightening the load is the only way to extend players' careers, especially those who want to remain in New Zealand.
He said it is demanding to complete a full Super Rugby campaign, a full Rugby Championship and an end-of-year tour, one after the other.
"That's going to be tough on players, but the good thing is that guys are willing to stay in New Zealand if they can get some sort of break."
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