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Chasing Great: A Deep Dive into the Mind of a Rugby Icon

Chasing Great offers an unprecedented glimpse into the life of rugby icon Richie McCaw, revealing the psychological profile of a champion.

Keywords: Richie McCaw, All Blacks, rugby, World Cup, leadership, mental toughness, New Zealand, sports documentary, Chasing Great. Three Words: Inspiring, Revealing, Captivating.


"Chasing Great" is a 2016 documentary directed by Justin Pemberton and Michelle Walshe. It provides an intimate look into the life of All Black captain Richie McCaw, arguably the greatest rugby player ever, as he strives to lead his team to a back-to-back Rugby World Cup win. McCaw's journey is not only significant for rugby enthusiasts but also resonates widely as a story of dedication, leadership, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.


"Chasing Great" follows Richie McCaw in his final season as he aims to captain the All Blacks to a consecutive Rugby World Cup win, an achievement no team or captain has ever accomplished. The film offers an unprecedented glimpse into McCaw's world, revealing the psychological profile of a champion, and the mental toughness that turns a great player into the greatest.

More Film Analysis



The documentary adopts a participatory approach, with the directors gaining unprecedented access to McCaw, his family, and his closest friends. The film excellently marries in-depth interviews and a remarkable family video archive to present a comprehensive exploration of McCaw's life, on and off the field.

Historical and Factual Context


McCaw's career coincides with a golden era for the All Blacks, making his story an important chapter in rugby history. His journey also offers insights into New Zealand's cultural passion for rugby.

Key themes in the film

  • Striving for excellence: The documentary underscores the importance of dedication and hard work in achieving one's dreams.
  • Leadership: McCaw's captaincy offers valuable insights into effective leadership.
  • Mental toughness: The film highlights the role of psychological strength in high-level sports.

Film Comparisons

Unlike other sports documentaries, "Chasing Great" delves into the psychological aspects of sport, making it a stand-out in the genre.

Noteworthy Moments

McCaw's candid reflections on his career and personal revelations about his mental toughness strategies provide enlightening moments in the film.


"Chasing Great" was generally well-received, with audiences praising the intimate portrayal of McCaw and his journey.


"Chasing Great" is a captivating documentary that goes beyond the rugby field, making it a must-watch for anyone interested in stories of resilience, leadership, and mental fortitude.

More film information:


  • IMDB score of 7.2, 3 nominations at various film festivals.



  • Richie McCaw: All Blacks captain and one of the greatest rugby players of all time.
  • Justin Pemberton and Michelle Walshe: Directors who gained unprecedented access to McCaw's life.



  • New Zealand, Rugby World Cup locations.

Key Questions Raised by the Film

  1. How does mental toughness contribute to athletic excellence?
  2. What leadership qualities does Richie McCaw exemplify?
  3. How does cultural passion for a sport impact an athlete's career?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A famous book, it would be "Relentless" by Tim S. Grover because of its focus on the mental aspects of sports excellence.
  2. A famous song, "Eye of the Tiger" for its theme of determination and striving for greatness.
  3. A famous piece of art, "The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali, symbolising resilience and the passage of time.
  4. A famous celebrity, Michael Jordan, another sports icon known for his mental toughness.
  5. A colour, it would be black, representing the All Blacks and the intensity of the sport.
  6. A music style, Classical, highlighting the precision, discipline, and mastery involved in McCaw's career.