"No fuss" Woodcock joins exclusive All Blacks club
New Zealand All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock dives towards a try at Eden Park Stadium in Auckland on October 23, 2011. "No fuss" Woodcock shunned the limelight Saturday as he joined the exclusive centurions club in the 27-16 Rugby Championship win over the Wallabies.
When offered the traditional opportunity on reaching a significant milestone to lead the team on to the field, the quiet destroyer of the All Blacks front row said "no".
He became only the fourth player in All Blacks history to play 100 Tests behind Richie McCaw, Mils Muliaina and Keven Mealamu.
The anchor of the All Blacks scrum, and the player who scored the only try when the All Blacks beat France 8-7 to win the World Cup in 2011, would have been happy to let the occasion pass unnoticed.
But captain McCaw led praise from his teammates as he presented Woodcock with a commemorative cap after the match.
"It's a huge effort. Every time you turn up it's great to have guys that just go about their business, and Woody's someone, no fuss, he just goes and does it.
"When you've got him packing down in the scrum you know the scrum's going to go pretty good."
Woodcock was reluctant to be interviewed but did reveal that All Blacks coach Steve Hansen told him several years ago he could reach 100 Tests "but I didn't believe him".
Hansen said it was typical of Woodcock that he didn't want a fuss but he deserved it.
"It's no mean feat to be able to play one game for the All Blacks let alone 100. He's done it with a lot of class for a long time and I thought we saw him at his best again tonight."
The 32-year-old Woodcock played his first Test against Wales in 2002, a 43-17 victory, and is regarded as one of rugby's toughest toilers at the top level.
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