Doco pushes the right buttons

CHASING GREAT

Directors: Justin Pemberton and Michelle Walshe
Cast: Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Gemma Flynn, Charlotte Brewer, Tayne Schoeman, Andre King, Phil Kearns, Margaret McCaw, Donald McCaw, Steve Hansen, Graham Henry
Rating: (G)
Five stars (out of five)

Rugby has been our dominant sport for more than a century, but for a period following the bitterness of the 1981 Springbok tour, the ructions of turning professional, the nibbling away at the fan base by an Auckland-based rugby league team and the World Cup heartbreaks of 1999, 2003 and 2007, it felt threatened.

That rugby heads once again feel secure that their game is supreme is due in large part to the man at the centre of this documentary.

Chasing Great  follows Richie McCaw in the countdown to what  was his last game of rugby as an All Black.

There would have been enough in Chasing Great to keep most New Zealanders happy if it was a straight recount of the great man’s highs and lows, but there is also charming family footage of a baby-faced McCaw, a wealth of news footage  and interviews with the people closest to him.

But what makes this documentary rather extraordinary are the interviews with McCaw in which he brutally dissects his own character and motivations.

He coyly never reveals the details of his workout regime; to him that is just a given and of no particular interest.

What lights him up is learning what his own buttons are and then pushing them to the advantage of the team.

His openness is touching and rather awe inspiring.

By doing this he has shared a little of his mana with us all.

- Christine Powley

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