All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith has said that he is proof a “small athlete” can make it in rugby after becoming the All Blacks’ tenth most capped player last Saturday.
The 31-year-old earned his 95th cap in the Bledisloe Cup-clinching victory over Australia at the ANZ Stadium, whereby he joined a list of legendary All Blacks.
In the wake of the victory, the Highlanders half-back said on Instagram that he was blown away to be in the company of “the greats of New Zealand rugby” before providing an inspirational message.
He said: “To play one Test for the All Blacks was, honestly, my dream. To play enough rugby to be listed alongside some of the greats of New Zealand rugby blows me away.
“I’m proof that you can come from a small town, be a small athlete and still be able to add to a game I love. Through hard work, great coaching, fantastic teammates and a bit of luck, you can do anything you believe in.”
Smith played alongside every member of the nine players ahead of him on this list except Mils Muliaina, who retired a year before Smith’s debut in 2012. The former full-back is ninth on the list with 100 caps, and Smith will no doubt overtake him at some point in the future – although the All Blacks only have three Tests left in the 2020 calendar.
Given that Smith remains the incumbent starting No9 for his country, there are plenty of signs that he could surpass many members of this club, and perhaps even overtake Richie McCaw’s national record of 148 caps.
This past Saturday was also a landmark occasion for a number of players around the world, particularly Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, who, in earning his 149th Test cap, overtook McCaw as the most capped player in history.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 2, 2020
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