17 July 2024, Wednesday

At age 34, fourteen years after his first test , the 2015 Rugby World Cup proved to be a great swansong for Richie McCaw,  the most capped All Black in history, the most capped player in history, and probably the greatest rugby player the game has ever seen.

On his last playing visit to Durban, I took some time out to ask him what has taken him to the very top of world rugby – and kept him there for so long.


At 18, his uncle and mentor John Bigsy McLay asked him what he wanted to be in life. His answer:

An All Black !

His uncle retorted:

Richie, you do not just want to be an All Black, YOU want to be a Great All Black. Write it down, sign it, and put it up somewhere – John Bigsy McLay

Richie could not bring himself to write it down in full – as he had not yet made the national age group team – so he wrote it down on a McDonald’s napkin as:


 Great All Black . And signed it.

Back home, Richie pinned the napkin up high on his cupboard – where no one else could see it. It was his signed stairway to heaven – committed at eighteen with ‘Head and Heart’.

Using the prefix ‘Great’ before whatever it is you want to achieve in life, does something special.

It sets the stretch. It sets the commitment. It sets the tone for the way things will get done.

And it creates a high performance culture of great.

Importantly,  it also means that it puts ‘winning against the odds’ before ‘winning at all cost’.

Human Greatness is far more than fleeting success.

It’s longevity.

And it’s best captured by three powerful S’s which define Human Great:

Sustained, Success and Significance

Richie McCaw – with 16 years at the top of world rugby– an ordinary guy doing extra-ordinary things – a shining example of stepping inside of great.

The thing that has made him a great player is his ability to want to get better – his game has evolved over time, hence why he is probably, if not the greatest we have had –  All Black Coach Steven Hansen

In sport and in life – the Great Champions do more. They make next happen.

The body will do what the mind says – Richie McCaw


40027-61968 Cell C Logos.inddFor Team Cell C who are perfectly positioned as the People’s Champions of South Africa, it would be beneficial to apply the prefix:




Brands and Teams with purpose are something special to see.

They are the real game- changers .They go the extra mile . They reach the next level.

And they know that those who believe in shared prosperity, and have a strong social purpose, become even greater.

Business becomes a force for good.

Well done Team Cell C.


Key Insight

Using the prefix ‘GREAT’ commits one to a culture of great.

ROBO COP 3Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Inspirational Speaker, Author and Performance Coach to Business Executives, Corporate teams, Organizational teams, Sports teams and Individuals.

  • Rob’s latest book: The Game Changers: Good to Great to Greater is available FREE to readers as an instant digital download on his site :