Two weeks after Wilkinson commented on his recent decision to retire in 2015, another prominent player said that he contemplates retirement from international rugby. New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw could be hanging his boots next year, after playing more than 120 past games so far. He was even the captain of the All Blacks back in 2011 when New Zealand won, so his absence will be hard to compensate.
Reporters were curious about whether he will be still playing rugby in 2016 and the New Zealand skipper told them that this is most unlikely. He plans to retire in 2015, even though he seems to be fit to play for a couple of more years and it goes without saying that his team could use his service. Those who thought that he might simply retire from the national team while moving overseas to play for a rich club were proven wrong by his recent statements, as Richie has no intention to relocate.
While these prominent rugby players prepare for retirement, younger ones get ready to prove their worth in the big arena and George Ford is a shining example. He will make his test debut off the bench in place of Brad Barritt, but he won’t be the only player that will take advantage of an injured veteran. Dan Cole is still sidelined, which means that Davey Wilson will start in his place and these will be the only new faces in the team that recently defeated Scotland by 20-0.
Lancaster’s decision is not surprising, as the coach has contemplated the possibility of including Ford in his team and the time is right for him to make this move. The young player has been training for three weeks and apparently convinced the coach that he’s got what it takes to play in a big match. The promising youngster has proven his worth in Junior squads and everyone hopes that he will develop into a player capable of regularly assuming a place in the senior team.
Those who are wondering whether Brad Barritt will return to the team once he is completely recovered from injury, have reasons to be optimistic. The coach said that he remains a key member of the team and once he is back to fitness he will have the first chance to reclaim his position. The next couple of weeks with the Saracens should help him make a smooth transition and speed up his recovery.