Smith poised to hit 100
Eric Smith will enter an exclusive club on Saturday when he notches up his 100th first class provincial rugby game for South Canterbury.
The veteran loose forward will lead the side out against East Coast, in a must win game for his province, becoming only the 12th person to play 100 games in the union's 124 year history.
Hooker Mick Casey was the first to achieve the feat in 1962 with wing Stephen Todd the last in 2001.
With the changes in competition formats, the fact most preseason games use rolling subs so are not deemed first class fixtures, Smith could be the last to achieve it.
Of the current crop, utility back Tevita "Rooster" Latu got his 50th game last week against Wairarapa Bush while injured inside back Scott Norton has 59, the only other two in the 2012 side over the half century and age is against them making anywhere near the magic 100.
After Casey, Ray Vercoe followed in 1970.
The 80s saw Dick Sharpe, Peter Grant, Noel Glass, Robin Heron and Barry Gallagher get there.
Three more joined the 100-club in the 90s with Barry Fairbrother, Gerard Coughlan and Steve Tarrant adding their names to the honours board.
There have been a number of players go close, wing Craig Dorgan was unlucky when his career stopped on 98. A number also changed provinces, cutting their bids short, including eight test veteran Tom Lister, who went to Wellington.
Todd's career in green and black spanned an impressive 16 years with the team, accumulating the most caps with 152, after debuting as a 17-year-old. The flying winger has the most tries as well with 60.
Surprisingly, he is not one of the eight players who has scored four tries in a game for South Canterbury.
Fairbrother still holds the record for the most points for South Canterbury with 1048, as well as six other South Canterbury goal kicking records. He is also the holder of the most drop goals in first class rugby in New Zealand with 61, seven better than Andrew Mehrtens and that record seems destined to stand for a long time.
- © Fairfax NZ News