Smith to become most-capped All Blacks No 9

Aaron Smith (Getty Images)
Aaron Smith (Getty Images)

Cape Town - New Zealand's Aaron Smith will become the most-capped All Blacks scrumhalf when he takes to the field against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

According to the All Blacks’ official website, Smith will play his 82nd Test, taking him past the great Justin Marshall, who played 81 Tests between 1995 and 2005.

Marshall heaped praise on Smith, telling the TVNZ website: "When you think about the competition he’s had to combat, the likes of Andy Ellis, Piri Weepu when he first came in, Jimmy Cowan, TJ Perenara, Tawera Kerr-Barlow... look at all those names...

"To stay as consistent and get the caps as quickly as what he has shows how good he is, in my mind he’s the best in the world and it’s great to have the All Black halfback as the best No 9."

The highest-capped scrumhalf in Test rugby history is Australia’s George Gregan, who played 139 Tests for the Wallabies between 1994 and 2007, while Joost van der Westhuizen holds the Springbok record for a scrumhalf with 89 caps.

Meanwhile, there will also be a milestone for Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, who will set a new record for an All Blacks starting lock partnership, starting in their 50th Test together.

“On behalf of the All Blacks, we want to congratulate Aaron, Brodie and Sam on their achievements,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.

Kick-off for Saturday's Test is scheduled for 21:00 (SA time).

Teams:

Ireland

TBA

New Zealand

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu'inukuafe

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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