Most Capped Test XV between 2000 and 2009

Most Capped Test XV between 2000 and 2009

The best of the best of 2000s, we take a look at the most capped Test Team of the 2000s.

1. Andrea Lo Cicero Vaina - Italy, 78

A long time front-row partner of Martín Castrogiovanni, Lo Cicero Vaina played 78 tests between 2000 and 2009.
He just beats Gethin Jenkins to the jersey, who made 77 appearances for the Lions and Wales during the same period.
2. John Smit - South Africa, 93
John Smit made 111 appearances for the Springboks
The World Cup-winning captain played both at hooker and prop throughout his career.
Smit played 111 times for the Springboks with 93 of those tests coming between 2000 and 2009.
His closest rival for the jersey was Keven Mealamu who represented the All Blacks 71 times during the 2000s.
3. John Hayes - Ireland and British & Irish Lions, 99
John Hayes v South Africa 2009
The Irish tighthead earned 99 of his 107 tests in the 2000s, two of his tests also coming with the British and Irish Lions.

4. Nathan Sharpe - Australia, 79
Nathan Sharpe is chaired off after his last test match after the International match between Australia and Wales in 2012
Wallaby second-rower, Nathan Sharpe debut for Australia in 2002 and earned a further 78 tests before the end of the decade.
When he retired in 2012, he had 116 test caps.
5. Victor Matfield - South Africa, 92
Victor Matfield after the Second Test match between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions at Loftus Versfeld on June 27, 2009
One of the finest locks of all time, Victor Matfield debuted in 2001 for the Springboks and earned a further 91 caps before the end of 2009.
He started 87 of his test caps he earned during this time and would retire with 127 test caps.
6. Martyn Williams - Wales and British & Irish Lions, 82
Martyn Williams leaves the field after winning his 100th Test cap
The back row is made up entirely of openside flankers with the three representatives earning at least 80 tests between 2000 and 2009.
Williams earned 82 caps during this period, two more than his fellow back-rower.
7.  Richie McCaw - New Zealand, 80
Richie McCaw thanks the crowd after winning the First Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Wales
Richie McCaw won 70 of his 80 tests between 2000 and 2009 and started all but six of those tests.
The legendary All Black career would see him win two Rugby World Cups in the decade that followed.
8. George Smith - Australia, 110 
George Smith looks on during the Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Hong Kong Stadium
The most capped player of the 2000s, the industrious George Smith was 'Mr Consistent' for Australia from his debut against France in 2000 to his last appearance in 2013.
Although Smith was an openside flanker he fills in at no.8, a position he played regularly during matches for the Wallabies.   
Smith was the only player to make a century of appearances during the 2000s.

9. Peter Stringer - Ireland, 91
Peter Stringer celebrates winning the Grand Slam during the RBS 6 Nations Championship match between Wales and Ireland
Having made 91 appearances for Ireland between 2000 and 2009, Peter Stringer beats George Gregan to place in the side having earned 6 more caps than the former Wallaby captain during this period.
Stringer is joined by fellow countryman and long time halfback partner Ronan O'Gara in the side. Stringer dominated the Green #9 jersey having started 79 tests between 2000 & 2009.    
10. Ronan O'Gara - Ireland and British & Irish Lions, 95
Ronan O'Gara kicks the match and Grandslam winning drop goal as the Welsh defence close in during the 6 Nations Championship match between Wales and Ireland
The former Irish playmaker earned 95 of his 130 test caps between 2000 and 2009. 

Stephen Jones comes in second place for the jersey having earned 86 test caps during the same period.

11. Shane Williams - Wales and British & Irish Lions, 72
Shane Williams celebrates after scoring the opening try to take the Welsh try scoring record during the Six Nations Championship match between Wales and France
Shane Williams won 72 of his 91 test caps during this period and scored 50 tries!
The next best try-scoring tallies came from Brian O'Driscoll and Chris Latham who both scored 38 tries during this period. 
12. Matt Giteau - Australia, 78
Matt Giteau kicks the ball during the 2010 Tri-Nations Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks
The Wallabies ace earned 78 appearances for the Wallabies during this decade scoring 562 points. 
He would earn a further 25 caps for the Wallabies with his final cap coming in 2016.
13. Brian O'Driscoll  - Ireland and British & Irish Lions, 95
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates following his team's Grandslam victory during the RBS 6 Nations Championship match between Wales and Ireland
An all-time great of the game, O'Driscoll's tally of 95 tests between 2000 and 2009 was the second-highest of backline player during that time with only Chris Paterson being the only back able to better that tally.
However, O'Driscoll is the only player on this list to have started every single one of his tests during this period.
In fact, O'Driscoll's only appearance off the bench during his entire career was during the 1999 Rugby World Cup when he came off the bench against Romania.
During the 2000s, he also slotted 4 of his 5 test career drop goals to go with his 38 tries.
14. Chris Paterson - Scotland, 97
Chris Paterson converts a penalty during the Six Nations Championship match between Scotland and Ireland
A great of Scottish Rugby, Chris Paterson earned 97 tests in the 2000s.
The winger/fullback scored 741 points during this time which includes 22 tries and 86 starts.
15. Mils Muliaina - New Zealand, 82
Mils Muliaina celebrates scoring his try during the match between England and New Zealand
Muliaina's career spanned between 2002 and 2011 with the sensational All Black fullback scoring 25 tries between 2000 and 2009.
Muliaina won 82.92% of his tests during this time and scored 25 tries.

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