James Mortimer 18.Oct.2012Getty Images
Mealamu has been named to start for the All Blacks final Southern match of 2012, and final domestic test match of this Hemisphere’s calendar, against the Wallabies in Brisbane to play on Saturday night.
The Tokoroa born rake made his test debut against Wales in Cardiff back in November 2002, with the 99-test All Black to bring up his ton just one month shy of his ten-year anniversary as an international player.
A versatile hooker whose dynamic play in the loose and durability has enabled him to become the most capped All Blacks number two in history, something acknowledged by coach Steve Hansen.
“Kevvy (Mealamu) is a hugely respected man, not only in the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby but also in his wider community,” Hansen said.
“He is a key leader in the team and one of the true gentlemen of New Zealand rugby. I know his family are extremely proud of him and so is his All Blacks family."
"On behalf of the All Blacks players and management, I want to congratulate Keven on reaching this very special milestone," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
Richie McCaw is the most capped All Black of all time, having played in 112 test matches.
The All Blacks captain is currently sixth on the all time list.
Only George Gregan (139), Brian O’Driscoll (126), Ronan O’Gara (126), Jason Leonard (119) and Fabien Pelous (118) have played in more Test matches than McCaw.
Mils Muliaina has played 100 test matches, and is 21st on the rare ledger.
Apart from O’Driscoll and O’Gara, Wallabies veteran Nathan Sharpe (111) is the only other player alongside McCaw and Mealamu still active in Test rugby.