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Weepu on verge of reserve record

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James Mortimer     23 Nov 2012     Getty Images

Weepu, if required off the bench, will earn his 44th Test cap entering late into the game, with the halfback playing in 67 Test matches overall.

He will overtake Ollie Le Roux, the mountainous Springboks prop who played 43 Tests off the pine in a 54 Test, nine-year career.

It is the continuation of an interesting rugby resume for Weepu, who closed off the 2011 season as the All Blacks incumbent halfback.

This year he has watched livewire Aaron Smith take his spot, and his selection on the Air New Zealand European End of Year came based on two things, his experience and the value he can add to a team off the bench.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said Weepu’s game was well suited to European conditions, head coach Steve Hansen has said the halfback is a game changer, while former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry once said he was better suited as an impact player off the bench.

Weepu has made just two Test starts this season, although he is finishing the year with a spring in his step, with the All Blacks selectors admitting that his performance against Scotland had given the brains trust plenty to think about at the selection table.

The ‘reserves’ list is notable for two other current All Blacks in Andrew Hore and Keven Mealmu, who have made 34 and 32 replacement appearances, largely indicative of the fact that the two have been largely interchangeable in the number two jersey.