Above: Wyatt Crockett playing against the Hurricanes in 2014. Photo credit: Dave Lintott Photography.
Crusaders front row stalwart Wyatt Crockett will set the Super Rugby appearance record when he runs out against the Sunwolves at his home ground of AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Friday for his 176th start.
Crockett’s 176th Super Rugby appearance surpasses Keven Mealamu’s record of 175 set in 2015, and adds to his growing list of milestones which include being the most capped Crusader in history, holding the most Super Rugby caps for the same team, and having the world record for the most consecutive Test wins.
The 34 year old prop launched his Super Rugby career with the Crusaders in 2006. He has amassed 73 caps for Canterbury at a provincial level and 58 All Blacks caps since his international debut against Italy in Christchurch in 2009.
He was a member of the New Zealand sides that won the Under 19 World Cup in Italy in 2002 and he also featured consecutively in the Junior All Blacks teams of 2006 and 2007.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew acknowledged Crockett’s milestone.
“Wyatt is a very proud Crusader, having played all his Super Rugby for the team and his provincial rugby for Canterbury. This is a significant achievement for him and his family.
“Wyatt personifies all that is great about our game. He is the ultimate team man and is totally professional in all that he does, on and off the field. He has remained committed to New Zealand Rugby and his loyalty to team and country is an inspiration.
“He’s one of the game’s good guys and this record couldn’t be held by a better person.”
BNZ Crusaders Head Coach, Scott Robertson acknowledged Crockett’s massive contribution to the BNZ Crusaders.
“Crocky is the epitome of what we describe around here as a ‘Crusaders man’. Values like loyalty, team first, integrity and work ethic are central to what we ask of our players, and these are all qualities that come as second nature to Wyatt.
“It is entirely appropriate that we are celebrating him becoming the most capped Super Rugby player ever, because you simply would not find a player who shows more commitment, dependability and passion for his team than Wyatt Crockett.”
Crockett himself is approaching the milestone in a modest fashion, and says for him it is a great opportunity to say thanks to those who have helped him represent the team he loves for the last 175 games.
“I wouldn’t be here celebrating this milestone if it wasn’t for my incredibly supportive family and friends, or the coaches, team management and teammates who have made it possible.
“It continues to be as much of an honour every time I pull on the Crusaders jersey as it was the first time. As a kid growing up in Nelson and Golden Bay I was a huge Crusaders fan, I flew my flag on the embankment at "T" Park, listened to the theme song before my First XV games and dreamed of one day becoming a Crusader, so I would like to say a huge thank you to all of those who have encouraged, coached, supported or helped in any way to keep living my dream.”
Crockett will be presented with a gift from the Crusaders organisation to mark the record this Friday 14 April, at the conclusion of the Crusaders match with the Sunwolves in Round 8 of the Super Rugby competition.