Woodcock to become All Blacks most capped prop

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NZPA     06 Aug 2010     Getty Images

Last week Rokocoko's name was in lights as he became the most capped New Zealand winger in the 49-28 defeat of Australia at Melbourne.

Woodcock will mirror that achievement against the Wallabies here on Saturday, playing his 67th test to nudge past Greg Somerville for the most tests as a prop.

Yet Woodcock was hardly stretched at the player media session today -- perhaps reflecting the glamour status of the respective positions but also the quietly spoken nature of the part-time farmer from Kaukapakapa.

It has been his way since debuting against Wales in Cardiff on the experimental tour of 2002. Alongside him that day were two other raw front-rowers in Carl Hayman and Keven Mealamu, forming a trio who all forged notable test careers.

Not unexpectedly, Woodcock deflected questions about the record today, instead wanting to focus on what he expects to be a greater challenge from the Wallabies.

He was at his most loquacious when asked about the Melbourne scrum performance, an area where the All Blacks held sway despite just nine scrums being set, including three New Zealand put-ins. They snared a second-half tighthead which led directly to Mils Muliaina's second try.

"We were happy to get all our ball and we disrupted a fair bit of theirs. We were happy with that, that's what we're aiming for," he said, playing down concerns that the number of scrums were plummeting at test level.

"You can't do anything about it. You just have to make the ones count that turn up.

"It (scrummaging) is still right up there on top of the list of things to put emphasis on."

The pace of the game has unquestionably quickened this year, something Woodcock was happy to be involved with although he suspected the Wallabies and Springboks would be more prepared for it in coming tests.

"We're realistic and know that a couple of opponents we've had have had average nights," he said.

"We know that any game coming up they could turn up and be in a pretty good space."

The most capped props in All Blacks test rugby history: 66 - Tony Woodcock, Greg Somerville
60 - Craig Dowd
56 - Olo Brown
49 - Richard Loe
46 - Steve McDowell
45 - Carl Hayman
43 - Neemia Tialata
42 - Kees Meeuws
36 - Gary Knight
32 - Wilson Whineray