Carter, Wilkinson, O'Gara, Farrell, Sexton: Who's scored the most points in Test rugby?

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The art of ‘scoring’ in rugby, is one of the most desirable and important attributes a player can possess. Scoring epitomises everything exciting about a match – meaning great scorers, are usually great players.

And no player is greater than that of New Zealand’s Dan Carter - the top Test point scorer of all time, by quite the margin as well.

The fly-half enjoyed a remarkable 12-year playing career under the All Blacks, accumulating an obscene 1,598 points along the way, which is a whopping 352 points ahead of second place. A cut above the rest.

This was all achieved in just 112 caps – which is an average of 14.27 points per game. This man really is a rugby icon.

Recently getting a chance to speak about his career on the High Performance Podcast, Carter was nothing but appreciative of what he managed to achieve.

"I stumbled across my personal purpose. Looking back now, I'm just so grateful that I had that vision, that purpose and that came about when I walked off the field in 2003 after playing my first Test for the All Blacks.

"So if I rewind back to a five-year-old Dan Carter. It was the inaugural Rugby World Cup, it was here in New Zealand, co-hosted with Australia and one of the first games, the All Blacks played Italy and from one of the kick offs, John Kirwan got the ball and he beat 11 players to score this incredible try.

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"It was one of the most amazing tries. As a little five-year-old kid, I was like: 'Man, he's my hero.' So, I went straight outside and I was pretending to score tries like John Kirwan.

"Now, the All Blacks went on to win that World Cup and I remember watching David Kirk, who was captaining that game, lifting the Webb Ellis Cup above his head and as a five-year-old, I remember that moment of going: 'I want to be an All Black. This is my dream.'

"Now, I never actually thought it would happen. I grew up in a little town of only 700 people, so in my opinion, as a five-year-old, I thought: 'Ah, All Blacks aren't supposed to come from these little villages of only 700 people.'

"So, anyway, I love rugby so much, I did it because it was fun and my mates were doing it, I was ok at it, I was never the best and then all of a sudden, through a lot of hard work and sacrifice, I became an All Black.

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"I played my debut against Wales in 2003 and all of a sudden, my dream had become a reality and I walked off that field and I was like: 'Is that it? Man, that was the most incredible feeling, but I don't want this feeling to ever end. I don't just want to be another All Black where I play three or four games. I don't want to be an All Black that plays one season. I want to be an All Black great.'"

Read more: The High Performance Podcast hub

So, who are the other nine point scorers in Test history that fall short to arguably rugby union's ‘greatest of all time?’ Let’s have a look.

10 – Michael Lynagh (1984-1995)

• Points Scored - 911
• Caps - 72
• International Team – Australia

Just squeezing onto the list at number 10 is former Australian fly-half Michael Lynagh.
Lynagh represented the Wallabies for 11 years, playing 72 times whilst also taking charge of captaincy between 1993 and 1995.

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He was a member of the infamous 1984 Grand Slam-winning team and also won the 1991 World Cup with the Aussies.

He also was, at one point, top of this list, which makes him the oldest player to feature on our countdown at what is now 58 years of age. A fitting start to the top 10.

9 – Jonathan Sexton (2009 – Present)

• Points Scored - 930
• Caps - 105
• International Team – Ireland & British and Irish Lions

At number nine in our list is someone we still have the pleasure of watching today and certainly has the potential to shift his position in the near future – Jonathan Sexton.

The Irishman is currently captain for both his respected international and club side and has enjoyed an illustrious career, to which the highlight was his acquisition of the ‘World Rugby Player of the Year’ in 2018.

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Retirement isn’t far off for the 36-year-old veteran, but he still could climb a few places in some of the upcoming Tests. The old boy's still got some life in him yet.

8 – Andrew Mehrtens (1995 – 2004)

• Points Scored - 967
• Caps - 70
• International Team – New Zealand

Number eight introduces us to yet another one of New Zealand’s greats Andrew Mehrtens.
The now 48-year-old was regarded as one of the top first five-eighths of his era and this earned him a spot on the All Black’s side, playing a total of 70 times for them – most notably featuring in the 1995 World Cup.

Mehrtens has one of the most impressive averages on this list, with a staggering 13.29 points averaged per game – only just behind our man at number one.

7 – Stephen Jones (1998 – 2011)

• Points Scored - 970
• Caps - 110
• International Team – Wales & British and Irish Lions

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The first Welshman to appear on our list. The former fly-half enjoyed a great playing career for Wales and at one point was their leading caps holder, only to be overtaken by Gethin Jenkins in 2014.

However, he remains to be the most-capped back and is the second-highest Welsh Union Test point scorer, behind a certain individual we’ll get to later.

6 – Diego Dominguez (1991 – 2003)

• Points Scored - 1,010
• Caps - 76
• International Team – Italy & Argentina

Just missing out on a top five slot is former Italy and Argentina fly-half Diego Dominguez.
The first on our list to have hit a millennium of scored points, and one of only nine to do so.

In 1998, Dominguez toured France with the Argentines and the following year scored 29 points in two games against Chile and Paraguay, but these were to be the only two games he ever played for Argentina.

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Game opportunity was scarce for Dominguez for Argentina, so he decided to turn to Italy and was eligible due to his grandfather. A move he didn’t regret.

He enjoyed 12 happy years with the Italians, playing a total of 74 times and obtaining 983 points along the way. So, he never would’ve hit that millennium without those Argentina matches, to which he now probably looks fondly back on.

5 – Owen Farrell (2012 – Present)

• Points Scored - 1,053
• Caps - 98
• International Team – England & British and Irish Lions

England’s current captain and the highest Test point scorer to still currently be playing. Owen Farrell.

Farrell has played for the Lions since 2012 and has been an integral part of their side ever since. At only 30 years of age, he’s certainly got a lot more left to give and I wouldn’t be surprised if I redid this list in five years – he’d be pushing towards the top slots.

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Farrell’s impressive individual accolades include two-time European Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018, whilst also being nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year on three separate occasions.

4 – Ronan O’Gara (2000 – 2013)

• Points Scored - 1,083
• Caps - 87
• International Team – Ireland & British and Irish Lions

At number four is Ireland’s second-most capped player and highest ever points scorer Ronan O’Gara.

O’Gara featured 128 times for the Irish, winning a hat-trick of Triple Crowns and Grand Slam in 2009 for his troubles as well.

His finest moment in a Shamrock jersey was his Grand Slam match-winning drop goal against Wales in 2009 that sent Ireland fans into a state of sheer ecstasy. He will no doubt go down as one of their, if not the, best player of all time.

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3 – Neil Jenkins (1990 – 2003)

• Points Scored - 1,090
• Caps - 87
• International Team – Wales & British and Irish Lions

First off in our top three spots, we have the first-ever player to score 1,000 points in international matches, Welsh Icon Neil Jenkins.

Jenkins made his Wales debut against England in 1991 at just 19 years old and carried on with them until he was 31, retiring in 2002.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

Jenkins once set a rugby world record, in a match against France in 1999 – where the Welshman converted nine penalties in a single match and was also at one time the highest-ever points scorer internationally, only to be overtaken by a certain Englishman.

2 – Jonny Wilkinson (1998 – 2011)

• Points Scored - 1,246
• Caps - 97
• International Team – England & British and Irish Lions

Just missing out on the top spot is English rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson.

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Wilkinson played 91 times for England over his 13-year career – averaging a staggering 12.85 points per game. He was sensational.

He was particularly well known for his ability to score drop goals, with his most memorable being the winner against Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.

Although he doesn’t top this list, he does top the list for the most amount of drop goals scored internationally with just the 36 to his name. Not bad.

1 – Dan Carter (2003-2015)

• Points Scored – 1,598
• Caps - 112
• International Team – New Zealand

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No one compares. A 12-year spell that saw him rack up just under 1,600 points. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Dan Carter really is a cut above the rest.

Carter enjoyed a phenomenal career filled with trophies galore, as well as individual and team honours. Carter will go down as one of the best because he simply had it all.

Two-time Rugby World Cup winner, nine-time Tri-Nations winner and the all-time Rugby Union Test point scorer. Ladies and gentlemen – Dan Carter.

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