In the entire history of the All Blacks, only Cyril Brownlie in 1925, Colin Meads in 1967 and now Sonny Bill Williams have ever seen red for the All Blacks in test rugby.
The story, however, is somewhat different when it comes to yellow cards, with 50 All Blacks having received yellows in their careers. Captain Kieran Read has received the most with four, with Richie McCaw, Kees Meeuws, Sam Whitelock and Tony Woodcock all on three.
We’ve previously looked at red cards throughout test history, but today we put together a XV made up of the All Blacks with the worst disciplinary records in the sport.
1) Tony Woodcock (3 yellow cards)
When you’re one of the most capped players in the world it’s inevitable you’re going to pick up a few cards along the way, and legendary loosehead Woodcock saw the colour against England in 2005, Ireland in 2008 and Australia in 2012.
2) Dane Coles (1 yellow card)
Four other hookers have picked up yellow cards for New Zealand: Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Anton Oliver and most recently Codie Taylor.
3) Kees Meeuws (3 yellow cards)
Matches against Argentina, France and South Africa saw Meeuws pick up three yellow cards across his career.
4) Colin Meads (1 red card)
Despite being one of the absolute giants of the game, one significant blot on Meads’ copybook will always be his red card – making him only the second ever person to pick up a red card for the All Blacks.
5) Sam Whitelock (3 yellow cards)
Whitelock has received three yellow cards: Against Wales in 2010; against Australia in 2013 and against South Africa in 2015. Former lock Norm Maxwell additionally picked up two yellow cards.
6) Cyril Brownlie (1 red card)
During a 1924 test match with England, Brownlie was sent off and became the first man to see red in a game involving two International Rugby Football Board teams. He was the first ever All Black to be sent off.
7) Richie McCaw (3 yellow cards)
One of the best players to have ever graced a rugby pitch, McCaw is famous for pushing the boundaries in every game he played and bending the laws to gain an advantage for his team. It’s no surprise then that only a few occasions in his glowing career that referees did show him yellow. These were against Wales (2006), Australia (2014) and Argentina (2015).
8) Kieran Read (4 yellow cards)
Current All Blacks captain Read’s four yellow cards are the most picked up by any New Zealand player in history, with the number eight seeing yellow against South Africa (2013), England (2013), Tonga (2015) and Australia (2016).
9) Aaron Smith (2 yellow cards)
Smith is the only All Blacks scrum half to have been yellow carded since the concept was introduced to the sport in 1995.
10) Beauden Barrett (1 yellow card)
Current fly-half Barrett is the only All Black fly-half to have ever picked up a yellow for his team. He earnt the ‘accolade’ as a replacement during New Zealand’s 2014 draw to Australia.
11) Cory Jane (1 yellow card)
53 caps and only a single yellow card to his name. Jane picked up his yellow in his country’s 33 – 10 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium back in 2012.
12) Ma’a Nonu (2 yellow cards)
A yellow early on in his career coming off the bench against Wales in 2003 and a second against South Africa nine years later are the only cards Nonu picked up in his 103 cap career, but he is one of the most carded AB backs in history.
13) Sonny Bill Williams (1 red card)
Williams has always been a divisive player in New Zealand with his code-swapping antics, but rugby league, union and sevens international arguably cost his team the second test with a moment of stupidity and recklessness that goes against everything the All Blacks stand for. If he’s given a chance to redeem himself next week he will need to have the game of his life.
14) Sitiveni Sivivatu (1 yellow card)
Few AB backs have picked up more than a yellow, but the most prominent wingers are Sivivatu and Cory Jane.
15) Israel Dagg
2012 wasn’t a great year for Dagg in terms of discipline: he picked up both his yellow cards in the same year – against Ireland and South Africa.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena