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'Am I no longer of value to society?': Dan Carter and Richie McCaw's post-rugby struggles

By Sam Smith
Dan Carter and Richie McCaw were veterans of the game when they guided New Zealand to 2015 World Cup glory (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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All Blacks icons Dan Carter and Richie McCaw have opened up on their post-rugby struggles, revealing they are still coming to terms with retirement from the game.

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Two of the greatest players ever to grace the game, McCaw remains the only player ever to captain a country to back-to-back World Cup titles, having done so in his final two tournaments with the All Blacks in 2011 and 2015.

Carter, meanwhile, holds the world record for most points ever scored in test rugby, having accumulated 1598 points in an international career lasting from 2003 to 2015.

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However, the pair spoke of the struggles they have encountered since retiring from rugby in an interview with News Corp.

Carter, who stepped away from the game last year following his All Blacks retirement in the wake of New Zealand’s 2015 World Cup success, said he has questioned his “value to society” as he continues to come to terms with life after rugby.

“I’m still trying to figure out life after rugby,” Carter told News Corp.

“There’s a temptation to feel like, I’ve finished playing, I need to be working. You get asked all the time, ‘What are you doing now?’ I’m still figuring it out, I didn’t have an answer, I was mumbling my words and finding excuses.

“It’s that word retirement, I just turned 40. I’m not supposed to hear that word retirement until I’m 65.

“You think, ‘Gee, am I no longer of value to society because that’s what people know me for?’ I changed my mindset around that, not be defined as a rugby player.”

As such, Carter has looked to find purpose in his post-playing days by taking on charity work with UNICEF, having recently completed a 24-hour kickathon at Eden Park to raise $370,000 to provide clean water and sanitation for children in the Pacific.

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The 40-year-old has also been involved with various other ventures and projects post-retirement, including being the co-founder, along with McCaw and ex-teammate Ali Williams, of the iSport foundation.

McCaw said the foundation, designed to help young Kiwi athletes develop an interest in sport, has helped him come to terms with retirement from rugby, adding that he won’t be returning to the sport in a coaching capacity.

“It won’t be coaching. I know I want to give back and contribute in some way to the game because of what I got out of it, but what that looks like, I haven’t figured out,” McCaw, a commercial helicopter pilot by trade, told News Corp.

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