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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw has been given his country's highest honor, being appointed to the Order of New Zealand (ONZ).
McCaw, who turned 35 on Thursday, is just one of 19 members of the ONZ. It is restricted to 20 living people.
He is the youngest member of the group with the majority having been former civic and business leaders, scientists or representatives from the arts.
"It's an incredible honor to receive the Order of New Zealand," McCaw said on Facebook. "To join the list of some truly great New Zealanders is exceptionally humbling."
McCaw retired from rugby after leading the All Blacks to successive World Cup victories this year.
"The Order of New Zealand honor does not come with a title. I've never been comfortable with titles, it's not who I am," McCaw added.
"I just see myself as a ordinary boy from Kurow who has been able to live a dream."
The openside flanker retired following a 14-year international career with a world record for test caps (148), victories (131) and as captain (110).
He was named world player of the year three times and is widely considered to be the best player to have represented the All Blacks.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury, editing by Ed Osmond