New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has announced his retirement after a glittering career.

The 34-year-old flanker played a world-record 148 Tests, 131 of them wins, and led the All Blacks to two World Cup final victories, including last month's triumph against Australia.

McCaw is also a three-time winner of the World Player of the Year award.

The news, expected for some time, comes 24 hours after the death of iconic All Blacks winger Jonah Lomu.

"Today, I thought about whether it was the right thing to do," said McCaw. "But I'm going to be hanging up my boots."