Ben Smith racks up most minutes for ABs

Despite being among the oldest in the squad, Highlander Ben Smith racked up the most minutes for...
Despite being among the oldest in the squad, Highlander Ben Smith racked up the most minutes for the All Blacks in a hectic year. Photo: Getty Images
The brilliance of Ben Smith knows no bounds.

The 32-year-old is one of the oldest players in the current All Blacks squad but that didn't stop him from putting in the most time on the field in 2018.

Smith played 15 games for the Highlanders and 12 tests for the All Blacks this year totalling 2,120 minutes on the field. That's an average of 78.5 minutes a game.

Smith played 928 minutes of test rugby this year, missing only the Japan and Italy tests (though he still got time on the field as a waterboy in Rome).

He left the field early against Argentina in Nelson for a head injury assessment before returning 10 minutes later. The only time he was replaced in 2018 was in the 58th minute in Buenos Aires.

In the forwards Scott Barrett played 2,107 minutes of rugby for the Crusaders and the All Blacks across the season.

Barrett made 239 tackles this year according to Opta across his 17 Super Rugby games and 13 tests. Like Smith, Scott Barrett played every minute of the three-test series against France earlier in the year before clocking more than 400 minutes in the Rugby Championship.

Rieko Ioane (1,992) and Beauden Barrett (1,946) also put in plenty of time this season while Barrett's Crusaders teammate Sam Whitelock was the next ranked forward playing 1,905 minutes of rugby, making 252 tackles.

Barrett, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea and Karl Tuinukuafe are the only players who got on the field in 13 tests this year. Although all four were used as substitutes across the year.

Ben Smith and Codie Taylor had the most starts with 12.

Steve Hansen used 48 players this season, across 14 tests, which is the most since he became head coach in 2012. Seven of which played just one test against Japan.

Total minutes in 2018
Ben Smith 2,120
Scott Barrett 2,107
Rieko Ioane 1,992
Beauden Barrett 1,946
Sam Whitelock 1,905
Codie Taylor 1,754
Aaron Smith 1,571

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