Richie McCaw Photo: Wikimedia Commons
RD: What does trust mean to you?
RM: Trust comes from doing what you say – from backing your words with actions. Trust is about dependability, integrity and respect. It’s about people knowing you’ll do the right thing, and that you’ll be honest. Like respect, trust can be hard to earn over time, but easy to lose just like that.
RD: Why do you think New Zealanders trust you so much?
RM: Maybe it’s because I do what I say I will. People get in trouble when their private lives are different to their public lives, whereas what you see of me on TV is exactly the way I am. People see that I care about what I do, care about the people around me, care about New Zealand. But I don’t think I’m anything special.
RD: Did trust in your team help you get through that final?
RM: Absolutely. Trust is the biggest thing in rugby. I believe there’s very little difference in talent between teams at this level; it comes down to the mental side of things. We spent a lot of time building relationships in the team, so when the pressure came on, we trusted each other to do exactly what was needed. We know each other’s vulnerabilities, strengths and weaknesses and, if someone doesn’t get it right, we help each other out. Those bonds build trust.
RD: As captain, having your team’s trust both on and off the field must be crucial?
RM: Yeah, and I think some people fall into a trap with wanting to be liked. I think it’s about being respected and doing the job right. You don’t have to be best mates with everyone, as long as there’s respect and trust there.
RD: Who do you trust most?
RM: My folks [Donald and Margaret McCaw]. If I have any troubles, I yarn to them. I trust how they look at things and what they have to say. In rugby, I trust the Crusaders’ coaches like Todd Blackadder; and at All Black level, obviously Graham Henry last year and Steve Hansen these days. If you don’t trust your coach, that’s a barrier.
RD: Do you feel any pressure to live up to people’s trust in you?
RM: Not so much – what I do and say is exactly how I am. With people watching you, you’ve got to be a bit careful and realise that one little mistake can be blown out of proportion. But making the odd mistake is part of living, just as long as you learn from it.
RD: To some extent trust is about telling the truth, but all of us tell white lies, including you?
RM: Yeah, but when it comes to important stuff, honesty’s the best way. I think many people shy away from conflict. You can be pretty blunt with each other but not take it personally – as long as it’s well thought-out, you deliver it respectfully, and it’s going to help them. I’ve had to do that with good mates and it can be horrible for them, but down the track they’ll thank you.
RD: Who do you trust enough to put you in your place, and to confide in?
RM: Aside from my parents, I’ve got a good bunch of friends that I know have my back. If something’s wrong, I can go to them and know they’ll understand, and that I can rely on them.
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