The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
A lesser leader might have been crushed by the weight of history hovering above him six minutes into the second half as a packed Millennium Stadium roared in disbelief.
During a momentary break in a sudden Welsh onslaught, McCaw took swift stock of a deteriorating situation.
Stephen Jones would cut the deficit to a single point as soon as he had finished teeing the ball up, Wales appeared to have grabbed the game by the throat and New Zealand would have to survive the next ten minutes without their substitute flanker Daniel Braid, then trudging off towards the sin-bin.
If that didn't tell McCaw that he had a crisis on his hands, then the raucous sound of the crowd belting out their favourite battle hymn, Bread of Heaven, most certainly did.
At that precise moment, six minutes into the second half in Cardiff last Saturday night, the All Blacks were in fleeting danger of a defeat which would have registered higher on the Richter Scale than their last one in the same stadium, the World Cup quarter-final against France three years earlier.
McCaw denied that the thought of losing ever crossed his mind. 'We don't think like that,' he said. 'Start thinking like that and things go wrong. You think only about how you can get your game going again.'
A question, therefore, of attitude. New Zealand pulled through because they expected to win, albeit aided and abetted by the opposition committing a few cardinal sins.
Far from blasting through the door which they had prised ajar, Wales conceded ten points and the match while Braid served his ten minutes.
Wales will rarely have a better chance of breaking their most forbidding psychological barrier.
Now they go into the greatest annual international event of all, the RBS 6 Nations, as the only one of the six not to have taken a Southern Hemisphere scalp.
England managed two (Australia, Samoa), Ireland two (Samoa, Argentina), Scotland two (South Africa, Samoa), France two (Fiji, Argentina), Italy one (Fiji).
For all that, there were a few severe reality checks along the way.
France careered into one of shocking severity, conceding 46 points to Australia in the last 32 minutes.
England, having announced their revival by out-playing the Wallabies, ended up being bullied into submission by the Springboks which made Scotland's win over the World Cup holders the
previous week all the more satisfying.
The next trick for Andy Robinson in the Scots' resurgence under his coaching will be to do something about a try return of two from the last eight matches.
Ireland, beaten in the two games which mattered most, against South Africa and New Zealand, will hope to be all the better in the New Year for Paul O'Connell's return to fill the void caused by his long-term injury.
They will be aware that the Azzurri, first up in Rome on February 5, have found a prodigious goalkicker in Mirco Bergamasco whose bombardment of eight penalties against Fiji in Modena equalled the Italian record set by Diego Dominguez in the mid-Nineties.
Wales, whose Friday night extravaganza against England in Cardiff can be guaranteed to give the old tournament an electrifying start, hope by then to have reassembled a back line capable of exploiting the scrum dominance built around their incomparable tighthead, Adam Jones.
For all the glitter of those absentees waiting in the wings -- Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts and Gavin Henson -- Jones has proved himself the most valuable Welsh player of all.
The best November XV:
15 Mils Muliaina (New Zealand)
14 James O'Connor (Australia)
13 Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)
12 Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand)
11 Hosea Gear (New Zealand)
10 Dan Carter (New Zealand)
9 Ben Youngs (England)
1 Rodrigo Roncero (Argentina)
2 Bismark du Plessis (South Africa)
3 Adam Jones (Wales)
4 Bakkies Botha (South Africa)
5 Victor Matfield (South Africa)
6 Stephen Ferris (Ireland)
7 Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
8 Kieran Read (New Zealand).
16 Mario Ledesma (Argentina)
17 Dan Cole (England)
18 Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales)
19 Pierre Spies (South Africa)
20 Will Genia (Australia)
21 Conrad Smith (New Zealand)
22 Kurtley Beale (Australia)
And how they fared over the month, country by country:
P W D L Tries F-A
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 18-4
Australia 4 3 0 1 14-5
South Africa 4 3 0 1 7-6
Ireland 4 2 0 2 8-7
England 4 2 0 2 6-8
France 3 2 0 1 4-7
Scotland 3 2 0 1 1-9
Italy 3 1 0 2 2-4
Argentina 3 1 0 2 1-3
Fiji 3 0 1 2 2-4
Wales 4 0 1 3 6-11
Samoa 3 0 0 3 4-5