Wyatt Crockett: I could play at next World Cup, aged 36

All Blacks prop Wyatt Crockett has faced many challenges during his test career, most notably an apparent over-willingness from referees to penalise him, but it appears old Father Time isn't necessarily one of them.

The 33-year-old Crockett reckons he could push on to the next World Cup in Japan in 2019, by which time he would be 36, but still near his prime thanks to a training and recovery regime in New Zealand which is second to none.

The loosehead, who has played 52 tests for the All Blacks and lost only one - the 2012 match against England at Twickenham - is still going from strength to strength despite his advancing years. Tight forwards generally don't come into their prime until their 30s, but Crockett said an added advantage was the scientific approach to strength and conditioning led by trainer Nic Gill.

"I'd love to be involved in another World Cup," said Crockett, who made his All Blacks debut in 2009, but was not selected for the World Cup in New Zealand two years later.

"I probably never thought I would get to play for as long as I have.

"The way Gilly looks after us, I just feel he is getting more and more out of myself as an individual every year and while that's still going, hopefully I can continue to play at a high level."

With lock Brad Thorn, with whom Crockett played at the Crusaders, in yet another comeback at the ripe old age of 41 (Thorn recently played for Queensland Country), Crockett has the perfect role model.

"It's pretty inspiring what he's done," Crockett told Radio Sport as he prepared for his team's test against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Sunday. "I don't know if I'll make it to 41, but I think it just shows that if you look after yourself, continue to train hard, and your mind is still willing to push yourself ... then age is a barrier but it's not going to stop you from doing what you want to do.

"Comparing the way we prepared when I first started, to what we do now - the lengths we go to recover now, it's just such a huge improvement. I think genuinely that's going to increase the lifespan of rugby player in terms of their careers; especially in New Zealand, I think we do it as well as anyone."

One of the toughest times in Crockett's career came against Italy in Milan in 2009 when he was penalised off the park for his allegedly illegal scrummaging by referee Stu Dickinson, who was later censured by referees' boss Paddy O'Brien.

Crockett didn't play again for the All Blacks until 2011, missed selection for the World Cup, but, now that Tony Woodcock has retired the Cantabrian is in a weekly tussle for the No1 jersey with Crusaders teammate Joe Moody.

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