With Brian O’Driscoll set to become the most capped player in World rugby next weekend as he runs out in Dublin for his 140th cap. Below are the 14 men who would run out alongside him if we were to name a most capped side still playing in world rugby.
15 – Mils Muliaina – 100 Caps (New Zealand)
With 165 test points to his name Muliaina has been a key component in one of the most successful rugby teams of all time. Although he has now fallen down the pecking order for the All Blacks he is now running out for double Super Rugby champions the Chiefs.
14 – Mirco Bergamasco – 89 Caps (Italy)
With his brother Mauro not even making this side despite his 98 caps for Italy, Mirco still has plenty of time to add to his current 89 caps for Italy. Despite not being the biggest of players in the current age of giants in rugby, Mirco Bergamasco has been a resilient servant for his national side.
13 – Brian O’Driscoll – 139 Caps (Ireland)
O’Driscoll is set to become the most capped rugby player of all time next weekend when he steps out at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for Ireland. The epitome of the modern centre, O’Driscoll has been a constant in the Ireland side over the last 15 years, and although he may have lost a yard of pace, he has more than compensated with other areas of his game.
12 – Jean de Villiers – 96 Caps (South Africa)
The only back to captain a side currently in the top 7 of the IRB World Ranking’s, de Villiers has been the cornerstone of the current Springbok side as a raft of young players have been brought in around him.
11 – Bryan Habana – 95 Caps (South Africa)
The Springbok flyer may now be plying his trade in France at club level but at just 30 years of age there is still plenty of time for Habana to reach and surpass a century of caps. The most capped winger of all time is David Campese with 101 so it’s easy to see Habana surpassing that number very soon.
10 – Dan Carter – 100 Caps (New Zealand)
The model professional, Dan Carter has established himself at the premier fly-half in World Rugby. Although injuries have limited his appearances for both club and country in recent years, at just 31 he still has plenty of time to build his record of most test points.
9 – Peter Stringer – 98 Caps (Ireland)
At 36 most players would be hanging up their boots and looking for a cushy job in the commentary box, not Peter Stringer though. He is still going incredibly well at Bath this year and looks like he could have years in him yet.
1 – Tony Woodcock – 107 Caps (New Zealand)
The All Black has been a monster in the scrum for New Zealand over the last 12 years and still has plenty to offer. It’s not easy earning so many caps in a side constantly producin top quality talent so Woodcock has achieved something pretty special.
2 – Keven Mealamu – 110 Caps (New Zealand)
The All Blacks hooker may have had to rotate with Andrew Hore in the number 2 jersey over the years but this has no doubt added to his durability. An impressive 60 test points for the All Blacks highlights just one area of his game.
3 – Martin Castrogiovanni – 104 Caps (Italy)
Castro as he has become known has been the cornerstone of an impressive Italian scrum for the last 12 years and at just 32 potentially has plenty more test caps in him. Italy are going to really struggle to replace him after he finally decides to hang up his boots.
4 – Victor Matfield – 110 Caps (South Africa)
Matfield was part of a second row combination that helped to develop the modern partnership that we see in most international sides today. Despite having previously retired he is now back playing for the Bulls and will no doubt be hoping for a return to the international scene.
5 – Donncha O’Callaghan – 94 Caps (Ireland)
Despite regular competition in the Irish second row, O’Callaghan has continued to be a major presence in the Irish boiler room and no doubt will be hoping to add to his tally of 94 caps.
6 – George Smith – 110 Caps (Australia)
George Smith may have spent some time in international exile whilst he played in Japan, but has still managed to amass 110 caps for the Wallabies. It’s just a huge shame that his international career ended with that infamous clash of heads with Richard Hibbard during the Lions tour.
7 – Richie McCaw – 124 Caps (New Zealand)
McCaw really has set the benchmark for the modern flanker over the years. He is currently captain of one of the most successful sports teams ever and will lead his side into the 2015 World Cup confident of retaining the title they claimed in 2011.
8 – Sergio Parisse – 104 Caps (Italy)
The Italian captain helped carry his side at international level for a number of years but is now being supported by a senior group within the squad. Very few players are able to stand out as Parisse does even when their side are playing poorly.
In total this side has 1584 caps between them which averages out to a 105 caps per person. Although there are players who are currently playing and have more caps, we have tried to select players based on their regular international position rather than cramming them into shirts they may not be accustomed to.
The nations contributing the most capped players are;
New Zealand – 6
Italy – 3
South Africa – 3
Australia – 1
Do you think this side would be capable of competing with the best in the World?