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Tributes for Test centurion Keven Mealamu

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allblacks.com     21 Oct 2012     Getty Images

33-year-old Mealamu reached the 100-Test milestone in tonight's third Bledisloe Test match against Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, joining his captain Richie McCaw and former All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina, who achieved the rare feat during last year's Rugby World Cup.

NZRU Board Chairman Mike Eagle said: "It is a wonderful accomplishment for any All Black to reach such a significant milestone. To achieve 100 Tests in modern, international rugby is testament to the commitment, skill and professionalism he exemplifies and we are very proud of his achievement and contribution to the game."

NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said: "Keven has been an outstanding ambassador for the All Blacks and over the last ten years he has proven himself to be a world-class player. He is one of rugby's true gentlemen and I congratulate him as he joins a small and very special group of players who have served the black jersey so well."

Former All Blacks hooker Sean Fitzpatrick, who played 92 Tests for the All Blacks and held the record as the most capped All Black from 1997 until 2010, was manager of the New Zealand Under 21 rugby team in 2000 in which a young Mealamu played.

"I am thrilled for Keven that he is has played his 100th Test for the All Blacks. He deserves every accolade that comes his way and I have enjoyed watching his game develop since our time together in the NZ U21s. He is an inspiration to many people. It was fantastic watching him run out tonight and wearing the jersey with pride."

Keven Filipo Mealamu made his All Blacks debut in November 2002 against Wales in Cardiff. He has captained the team three times and has scored 12 Test tries. His All Blacks number is 1026.