Richie McCaw receives New Zealand's highest honor

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New Zealand's captain Richie McCaw holds the trophy aloft after the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium in London.

New Zealand's captain Richie McCaw holds the trophy aloft after the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium in London. (Photo: Tim Ireland)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Recently retired All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been awarded New Zealand's highest civil honor in recognition of his record-breaking international rugby career.

McCaw, who received the honor on his 35th birthday Thursday, has been appointed to the Order of New Zealand, an honor restricted to 20 living New Zealanders at any time.

He twice previously refused a knighthood, a lesser honor which would have entitled him to be called Sir Richie McCaw, and said on Thursday "I've never been comfortable with titles, it's not who I am."

McCaw said he felt extremely privileged to "join the list of some truly great New Zealanders." Members of the order include golfer Sir Bob Charles.

McCaw led New Zealand to victories at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, making them the first team to win back to back. He retired after playing a world record 148 tests.

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