Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been appointed to the Order of New Zealand – the country’s highest honour.
McCaw, who captained the All Blacks to victory in the 2015 World Cup, is the youngest ever member of the order.
It does not carry any title but is restricted to 20 living members at any one time.
“It’s an incredible honour,” said McCaw, who will be 35 on 31 December. “I’ve never been comfortable with titles, it’s not who I am.”
McCaw retired in the wake of New Zealand’s success at the World Cup in England, as the All Blacks became the first country to win consecutive tournaments.
He played a world-record 148 Tests, winning 131, and is also a three-time winner of the World Player of the Year award.
“To have my rugby career recognised in this way is very special,” said McCaw.
“I’ve been so lucky to have played with some truly awesome men and while I receive this award, my team-mates are a huge part of our success over the years.”
Fellow World Cup winner Dan Carter and the team’s mental skills coach, Gilbert Enoka, were made Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, who all retired from international rugby after the World Cup, were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.