Success breeds defections, or so it always seems, and the transition being faced by the All Blacks after winning their second consecutive and third overall rugby World Cup titles is a prime example of this sports reality.
The New Zealanders seem to be adapting well, however, as new players arise in the Kiwi franchises in the early going of Super Rugby. The loss of many decorated All Blacks players to lucrative offers elsewhere has resulted not in utter chaos, but rather in four of the top five teams in the Australasian conference hailing from across the Tasman.
New Zealand has seemingly made a seamless transition after losing Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Nonu Ma’a Keven Mealamu and Tondy Woodcock, all major Test contributors. When Woodcock made the decision to retire, the total caps lost soared to 118.
They still have Wyatt Crockett playing prop. He has over 50 Tests on his resume, during which time he has experienced only one Test loss. His age might become an issue in the future if he does sign up for another three-year stint.
Sam Cane, current captain of the Chiefs, looks to be the best candidate to replace McCaw.