The most capped Test rugby XV of all time - by position

The most capped Test rugby XV of all time - by position

Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones will become the first player to play 149 tests for one country on Saturday.

The 36-year-old second-rower will feature in his 161st test when Wales face off against the All Blacks while there is a milestone on the other side of the pitch as Beauden Barrett becomes the 11th All Black to play 100 tests.


Ahead of the clash, we take a look a the most capped Test XV, by position of all time. 

* Currently active players

 

1. Gethin Jenkins, 134 caps (Wales/British and Irish Lions)


Wales' Gethin Jenkins during the national anthem head of the RBS Six Nations match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. (Photo by Tim Ireland/PA Images via Getty Images)

The most capped loosehead in the game, Jenkins was regarded as one of the best looseheads in the game during his career. He made 129 appearances for Wales and added 5 test caps to his tally with the British and Irish Lions. Jenkins beat Jason Leonard's record of the most capped loosehead prop with Tendai Mtawarira also made over 100 appearances for his country.


 
 

2. Keven Mealamu, 132 (New Zealand)

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 18: Keven Mealamu of the All Blacks looks on during The Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium on October 18, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Mealamu tops an impressive list of hookers that have made over 100 appearances for their nation. The former All Black played his 132nd and final test in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final against Australia.

Stephen Moore came close to the All Blacks tally making 129 appearances while Rory Best made his 124th appearance in his final game for Ireland.

 
 

3. Martin Castrogiovanni, 119 Italy

Castrogiovanni made a name for himself as one the premier scrummagers in the game and enjoyed a long stint in the Italian nation jersey featuring 119 times for his adoptive country.

Owen Franks took his tally to 108 tests before leaving New Zealand. England and Lions legend Jason Leonard also played 119 test during his career featuring on both sides of the scrum but Castrogiovanni gets the nod having played the majority of his career on the tighthead side.

 
 


4. Alun Wyn Jones, 160* (Wales/British and Irish Lions)

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 24: Alun Wyn Jones of the British & Irish Lions looks on during the 1st Test match between the South Africa Springboks and the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on July 24, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Jones will break Richie McCaw's record of 148 test caps for one country against New Zealand on Saturday. The most capped test player of all time has also played 12 tests for the British and Irish Lions, 10 of which coming in the starting lineup.

France's Fabien Pelous, Ireland's Paul O'Connell, Italy's Marco Bortolami and Portugal's Gonçalo Uva are among the other Northern Hemisphere second rowers who have racked up over 100 appearances for their country.

 
 


5. Sam Whitelock, 127* (New Zealand)

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 23: Samuel Whitelock #4 of the New Zealand All Blacks leads his team as they perform the haka before playing against the USA Eagles at FedExField on October 23, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

New Zealand's convincing victory over USA last weekend saw Sam Whitelock overtake Springbok great Victor Matfield as the second most capped second-rower of all time.

Whitelock earns his 128th test cap for the All Blacks against Wales. His trophy-laden career includes two Rugby World Cup titles.

 
 

6. Alessandro Zanni, 119 (Italy)

Italy's flanker Alessandro Zanni is tackled by Ireland's fullback Rob Kearney (L) during the Six Nations International Rugby Union match between Italy and Ireland at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on February 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

A legend of Italian Rugby, Zanni's career lasted 16 years with his first test coming against Tonga in 2004 and his last during the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

His 119 test caps sees him feature ahead of the likes of Michael Hooper (116), George Smith (111), Mauro Bergamasco and Martyn Williams (104).

 
 


7. Richie McCaw, 148 (New Zealand)

The second most capped player of all time Richie McCaw captained the All Blacks for most of his career winning two World Cups, countless Bledisloe Cups and became the first player to win 100 test matches and has won more games as captain than any other player.

 
 


8. Sergio Parisse, 142* (Italy)

FUKUROI, JAPAN - OCTOBER 04: Sergio Parisse of Italy looks on during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game between South Africa v Italy at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa on October 04, 2019 in Fukuroi, Shizuoka, Japan. (Photo by Francois Nel - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

The most capped Italian of all time! Sergio Parisse also became the first player to captain his country in 50 Six Nations matches in the final round of the 2019 Six Nations against France.

Parisse is yet to officially retire from international duty and is expected to hang up his boot at the end of the 2021/22 season.

 
 

9. George Gregan, 139 (Australia)

One of the greatest scrum-halves to have graced the game, Gregan is currently the fifth most capped player of all time turning out 139 times for the Wallabies, winning the World Cup in 1999. During his time with the Wallabies, the side won two Tri-Nations.

 
 

 
10. Ronan O’Gara, 130 (Ireland/British and Irish Lions)

Ireland's Ronan O'Gara celebrates scoring their first try during the RBS 6 Nations match at Croke Park, Dublin. (Photo by David Davies - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

O'Gara tops an impressive list of flyhalves who have made over 100 appearances for his country. The Irish International earned 130 test caps (128 for Ireland, 2 for the British and Irish Lions).

O'Gara won 1 Grand Slam, four Triple Crowns and Six Nations in 2009. He was also a tourist on three Lions Tours and was inducted in the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

Dan Carter, Stephen Jones, Stephen Larkham and Matt Giteau all made over 100 appearances for their country.

 
 


11. Bryan Habana, 124 (South Africa)

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Bryan Habana of South Africa and team mates salute the crowd after victory in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Bronze Final match between South Africa and Argentina at the Olympic Stadium on October 30, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

The most prolific Springbok try scorer of all time, Habana burst onto the test scene scoring off the bench at Twickenham and went to score 67 tries in 124 tests for South Africa winning the 2007 World Cup, a Tri-Nations and a Lions Series.

 
 

12. Florin Vlaicu, 128* (Romania)

EXETER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11: Florin Vlaicu of Romania kicks a penalty during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Italy and Romania at Sandy Park on October 11, 2015 in Exeter, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

At the age of 35, Vlaicu is turning out in the midfield for Romania. He made his test debut back in 2006 against Ukraine and has set a few records over his career including the most capped Romanian player and Romania's top points scorer in Rugby World Cups (28).

Georgia's Davit Kacharava is not far off the Romanian with 122 test caps.

 
 

13. Brian O’Driscoll, 141 (Ireland/British and Irish Lions)

The fourth most capped player of all time, O'Driscoll retired from test rugby in 2014 with 141 test caps. Regarded as one of the greatest of the game, O'Driscoll won two Six Nations titles, four Triple Crowns and a Grand Slam. O'Driscoll went on four Lions tours and captained the side in 2005.

His long list of awards includes: The 6 Nations All-time Top try scorer, Three-time 6 Nations Player of the tournament and was shortlisted for the World Player of the Award three times.

 
 

14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 121 (Australia)

Australia's 'Mister Fix It' made his return to the test set up for the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

Ashley-Cooper scored 39 tries in 121 tests for the Wallabies and has featured on the wing, fullback and at outside-centre for the national side.

Ashley-Cooper played in all but four of the 56 Tests played between 2008 and 2011.

In September this year, he brought the curtain down on a 16-year professional playing career that saw him attend four World Cups for the Wallabies between 2005 and 2019.

  


15. Yuri Kushnarev, 117* (Russia)

A seasoned international, Yuri Kushnarev is still turning out for Russia at the age of 36. Kushnarev has been a mainstay in the Russian test team featuring at fullback and flyhalf. 

 

He is Russia’s most decorated player, after picking up silverware with several clubs during his career, including 11 Russian Championships and two European Rugby Continental Shields. 

He beats Merab Kvirikashvili to a place in the side with the Georgian racking up 115 test caps.

Chris Paterson is the most capped Tier one fullback with 109 caps for Scotland.

The Full XV

1. Gethin Jenkins
2. Keven Mealamu
3. Martin Castrogiovanni
4. Alun Wyn Jones
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Alessandro Zanni
7. Richie McCaw
8. Sergio Parisse
 
9. George Gregan
10. Ronan O’Gara
11. Bryan Habana
12. Florin Vlaicu
13. Brian O’Driscoll
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
15. Yuri Kushnarev

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