Landmark for All Black duo

All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick has paid tribute to current captain Richie McCaw and fullback Mils Muliaina who are set to equal his record of 92 New Zealand caps. [more]

Landmark for All Black duo

All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick has paid tribute to current captain Richie McCaw and fullback Mils Muliaina who are set to equal his record of 92 New Zealand caps.

Fitzpatrick led the All Blacks to a Test series win over the Lions in 1993 and his record is to be equalled by another two New Zealanders who have tasted victory against the Lions.

Both McCaw and Muliaina were part of the All Black side that repeated Fitzpatrick’s class of ’93's achievements with a series win in 2005.

And after being selected in the starting line-up to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, the pair are set to follow in the footsteps of Fitzpatrick again in reaching 92 Test caps.

For McCaw it is the latest in several landmarks he has reached. In the summer he broke Fitzpatrick’s record of New Zealand caps as captain.

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“I couldn’t think of two better people than Richie and Mils to beat my record. They are outstanding All Blacks, good leaders of men and for me it’s an honour to pass the baton on to those two,” said Fitzpatrick.
 

Fitzpatrick was manager of the New Zealand Under 21 side in 2000 – 2001 when McCaw and Muliaina were in the team.

“I said to Richie at the time that I would love you to beat my record as the most capped All Black ever – we joked about it then and now it’s going to happen,” Fitzpatrick continued.
 

And the former hooker believes McCaw and Muliaina are getting better with age.

“Richie is just leading by example, with the way he has captained the team this year, especially in the Tests in Soweto and Sydney (where the All Blacks beat South Africa 29–22 and Australia 23–22 respectively), while Mils is a very, very special talent and very down to earth.”

All Blacks head coach, and former Lions boss, Graham Henry also paid tribute to the ‘icons’ of the game.

“It is a fantastic achievement for both men and it’s great that they are able to reach the milestone together this weekend in Scotland,” said Henry.

“They are icons of the game, have huge respect and mana within the All Blacks, in New Zealand and around the world, and will have many more Tests together in the All Blacks jersey.”

29-year-old McCaw and 30-year-old Muliaina first met on the rugby field when McCaw’s Otago Boys’ High School played Muliaina’s Southland Boys’ High School in 1997.

They then played together in various New Zealand age-grade teams before embarking on their stellar All Blacks careers.

McCaw made his All Blacks Test debut on 17 November 2001 against Ireland as a fresh-faced 20 year old and captained the All Blacks for the first time against Wales on the 2004 end of year tour, aged just 23.

Muliaina joined the national squad in 2003 making his Test debut as a 22 year old against England in Wellington on 14 June and has also captained the side in three Tests. He has scored 145 points in Tests and, remarkably, will play his first Test against Scotland this weekend.

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