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McCaw: Kiwis fit and firing

Richie McCaw has revealed that New Zealand have all but recovered from the virus that has swept through their camp.

The vomiting and diarrhoea bug first struck in the build-up to Saturday's 33-10 victory over Wales, but was at its worst during Wednesday's down day.

Only two members of the 32-man squad escaped the virus, but McCaw denied it would affect the All Blacks in today's clash with England at Twickenham.

"The guys are coming right now. By yesterday most of us were feeling pretty good, bar a couple," he said.

"I had a bit of it myself but I feel pretty good today. It knocked the stuffing out of a few of the guys.

"For a day or so the boys didn't have a lot to eat and were a little ginger yesterday.

"From what I've seen and from myself, we're eating normally and energy levels are back up.

"Hopefully it won't take too much out of us.

"I know running round yesterday wasn't too bad considering and I feel a heap better today. It shouldn't affect us at all."

The All Blacks are targeting a 10th successive victory over England that will enable McCaw to reflect on an unbeaten year when he begins his six-month sabbatical next month.

It has been a remarkable 14 months for New Zealand dating back to last autumn's World Cup triumph and the gap between themselves and their Test rivals is wider than ever.

Setting the tone is the enduring brilliance of perennial IRB player of the year nominee McCaw, who hopes to return to England as All Blacks skipper for the 2015 World Cup.

"Over the years I've always prided myself on being as consistent as I can," he said.

"I look back on this year and feel like I've been reasonably consistent. There are different parts of my game that have been a lot better.

"I've added a bit of extra size this year and that's helped with the physical impact side of things.

"I was a bit worried if the extra size would affect me but with the way the game is going, especially in loose forwards, you need to bring something physically."



Pain

McCaw played through the pain barrier at last year's World Cup due to a foot injury, but has remained fit throughout this season.

"Physically I'm in pretty good shape right now. It took a while but it came right," he said.

"From a mental point of view this year hasn't been a drag, it's been a challenge that I've enjoyed.

"The guys realise that if we get the job right (today), it will reflect on a pretty good year.

"If we don't then all the hard work we've done we'll look at through a slightly different lens.

"There's no doubt I'm excited about having some time off, but I haven't thought too much about it because I want to make sure I perform well this week, both personally and as a team."


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