Former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has said he never asked Richie McCaw to swap jerseys because he didn’t want to show respect to the All Blacks legend.


Warburton said he had jerseys from some of the game’s greatest openside flankers but revealed he never obtained one worn by McCaw.

The 30-year-old who retired earlier this year explained himself during a recent appearance on BBC Sport’s Scrum V podcast.

Warburton said that he had the jerseys of “Nugget [Wales’ Martyn Williams], Pocock, Thierry Dusatoir and Francois Louw”, but when Williams – co-presenting the show – asked “What about Richie [McCaw]… you must have Richie’s?,” Warburton revealed he had “never asked him”.

Warburton detailed his personal policy of “never asking anyone for their jersey”.

“I don’t want to give them, or give them the perception, that I’m giving them respect,” he said.

“If they want my shirt, they can ask me, but I’m not asking them for a shirt.


“I want to be this young guy who doesn’t care, who just wants to play and who just wants to knock his head off.”

Williams laughed and revealed that he begged McCaw to swap jerseys on several occasions.

“I would go up, full puppy dog eyes, and go, ‘please Richie, will you swap with me?” Williams said.


“I’ve got a couple – so it did work.”

Warburton’s policy was put to the test when Wales visited Australia in 2012.

“I remember it was 2012 and we played Australia, and Pocock is somebody I’ve always really admired to play against,” Warburton said.

“When I went out there, I was undercooked and I played badly for three games, well not badly, but I was under par for three games.

“They all come swapping at the end of the test series and the boys were like ‘Are you gonna go swap with Pocock?’ and I was like ‘Nah, I’m not. I don’t ask anyone. I’m not gonna ask him.’

“But he came in then and he said: ‘Do you want to swap?’

“I was really happy he came in because he’s someone I do respect, so I’ve got his shirt, which is great.”

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