New calls are being made for a knighthood for All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
McCaw was offered a knighthood in 2011 after he led the team to their World Cup victory, but turned it down saying it did not seem appropriate while he was still playing.
The 34-year-old’s yet to confirm his plans, but McCaw is likely to retire from Rugby after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Prime Minister John Key says he’s “absolutely deserving” of a knighthood.
“The question would be whether he would take one, I don’t know,” he told TV3’s Paul Henry show on Monday.
The knighthood had been on offer before and “I can’t imagine anything has changed”, Key said.
McCaw became the most-capped Test player in rugby history on Saturday when he made his 142nd appearance for the All Blacks against the Wallabies.
His future after rugby is yet to be determined, with suggestions he should enter politics – even run for Prime Minister.
“Not a bad option actually,” Key laughed.
“He has got a massive brand. Think how successful Colin Meads is now – I mean Richie’s at the starting point of that. He’s articulate, he’s an extremely intelligent guy, there’s a range of things he could do.”
Key described McCaw as an athletic “freak” to play as well as he had for 14 years in the All Blacks.
“The guy’s capacity and workload is unbelievable.”
McCaw led his team to a 41-13 defeat of Australia on Saturday – the team’s 12th successive defence of the Bledisloe Cup.