Smith to crack most-capped All Blacks top 10

Aaron Smith gets in some handling practice during the All Blacks’ captain's run at Leichhardt...
Aaron Smith gets in some handling practice during the All Blacks’ captain's run at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney yesterday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
All Black halfback Aaron Smith has got into the top 10.

But he is not going to make triple figures — not this season anyway.

Smith (31) will become the 10th most-capped All Black in history when he runs on to the field at ANZ Stadium in Sydney tonight.

He will play his 95th test tonight which pushes him ahead of centre Conrad Smith and brings him into the top 10 of most capped All Blacks.

Smith made his debut in 2012 and has been first choice in the side since then.

The next person to catch for Smith is fullback Mils Muliaina, who played 100 tests from 2003-11.

The only active player who is in front of Smith in playing tests is lock Sam Whitelock, who has played 118 tests.

Former skipper Richie McCaw has played the most tests for the All Blacks with 148 tests.

Smith could have made it to 100 test caps this year if South Africa had played in The Rugby Championship.

But two tests are not going to be played as South Africa has pulled out, so Smith will not get to the century mark this year.

Smith will make his 87th start for the All Blacks tomorrow, while halfback TJ Perenara brought up his 50th game as an All Black reserve who got on the field in the last test against Australia at Eden Park.

■ The Highlanders have formally begun their search for a new defence coach.

The franchise advertised for a defence coach yesterday. The successful applicant must develop and implement the Highlanders’ defence strategy.

The application also wanted coaches who had experience and expertise in forward play.

Aaron Mauger did the defence job last year but he has moved on.

Applications for the job close on November 13. The Highlanders do not start their pre-season until January.

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