New Zealand prop Wyatt Crockett believes he can play at the 2019 World Cup in Japan despite the fact that he would be 36 years old by then.
The 33-year-old Crockett feels he can contribute to the All Blacks in three years time thanks to in large part to the training and recovery structures in place in New Zealand.
Crockett has played 52 Tests for the All Blacks but has lost only one of them – against England at Twickenham in 2012 – and believes he could be good enough from a physical point of view to play at the next World Cup despite his age.
The prop told Radio Sport the scientific approach cnditioning coach Nic Gill used when it comes to strength and conditioning gave New Zealand players an added advantage.
"I'd love to be involved in another World Cup. I probably never thought I would get to play for as long as I have," Crockett said.
"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."
Crockett will be looking to former Crusaders team-mate Brad Thorn for inspiration after the lock won a World Cup with New Zealand in 2011 at the age of 36. Thorn made another comeback this year at the age of 41 for Queensland Country.
"It's pretty inspiring what he's done," Crockett said. "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."