By Niall Anderson
The Rugby World Cup begins in just under 10 days time, and there are plenty of records which are set to tumble.
Most of the records up for grabs are ones attainable by All Blacks greats, with Richie McCaw and Dan Carter chances to bring up notable World Cup records in this year’s World Cup.
However, there are also some World Cup records held by former All Blacks which are at risk of being toppled by some of world rugby’s greatest test players.
The Herald took a look at which records are under threat.
Most Rugby World Cup wins
Current holder: George Gregan and Jason Leonard (16)
Potential holder: Richie McCaw (14)
McCaw is close to a lock to take this honour away from the World Cup winning duo of Gregan and Leonard. With the All Blacks heavy favourites to win every pool game, it will take McCaw just three wins in the All Blacks’ four pool games to set the new mark for most wins in Rugby World Cup history.
Most Rugby World Cup games
Current holder: Jason Leonard (22)
Potential holder: Richie McCaw (16)
Taking this title away from the grasp of the former English prop could be a more difficult task for McCaw. McCaw has played the most World Cup contests of any active player, and could take the honour if he plays every game in the 2015 competition – assuming the All Blacks make it to either the final or third placed playoff.
However, should he skip the clash against Namibia or even rest for more than one game – a likely scenario to keep the skipper fresh – McCaw would only be able to tie the record.
Most Rugby World Cup games without a loss
Current holder: Francois Steyn (11)
Potential holder: Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith (9)
With Steyn not selected in the South African squad, the door is open for the All Blacks midfield combination of Nonu and Smith to continue their perfect record at World Cups.
Absent for the 2007 loss in Cardiff (The All Blacks started Luke McAllister and Mils Muliaina, with Isaia Toeava coming off the bench), Nonu and Smith have never lost at a World Cup.
To hold this record, the All Blacks would likely need to win the tournament, as it is hard to envisage a All Blacks knockout game being played without Nonu and Smith as the midfield pairing.
Most Rugby World Cup tries
Current holder: Jonah Lomu (15)
Potential holder: Bryan Habana (10), Drew Mitchell (9)
Lomu’s mark has stood untested since 1999, with the closest anyone has come being Doug Howlett, who has 13 World Cup tries.
However, his record could be under threat from legendary South African winger Bryan Habana, who needs five tries to tie Lomu and six to surpass him.
With South Africa having easy matches against Japan and the USA, all it takes it for Habana to get on the end of a few overlaps and the record will quickly loom.
Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell also has a shot to threaten Lomu’s record if he has a good tournament.
Most Rugby World Cup conversions
Current holder: Gavin Hastings (39)
Potential holder: Dan Carter (35)
Ahhh yes, the most important, prestigious, I-bet-you-didn’t-know-this-until-now record in world rugby – which kicker is the best at taking pot shots at goal in blowout wins.
Soon, it will be Carter, who will surely surpass this record in the first week of the tournament. Interestingly (not really), Carter has made 35 conversions at World Cups, but only seven penalties, showing the All Blacks’ dominance against largely overwhelmed opposition.
Carter’s seven World Cup penalties are less than four players have managed in a single game.
Thus ends “Conversion Chat”.
Oldest player to appear in a Rugby World Cup Final
Current holder: Brad Thorn (36 years, 262 days)
Potential holder: Victor Matfield (38 years, 173 days)
Brad Thorn’s apperanace against France in 2011 will remain as the record for the oldest player to play in a Rugby World Cup final – unless South Africa make the final at Twickenham this year.
The oldest player in the tournament, Matfield is the only player older than Thorn with a realistic shot at making the final (Sorry Tonga, Canada, USA and Japan). The next closest – Keven Mealamu, who would be just 36 days younger than Thorn if he made an appearance in the 2015 final.