Sam Whitelock

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Sam Whitelock
Samuel Whitelock 2011.jpg
Full name Samuel Laurence Whitelock
Date of birth (1988-10-12) 12 October 1988 (age 29)
Place of birth Palmerston North, New Zealand
Height 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
Weight 120 kg (18 st 13 lb; 265 lb)
School Feilding High School
University Lincoln University
Notable relative(s) Ben Funnell (cousin)
Adam Whitelock
George Whitelock
Luke Whitelock (brothers)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Lock
Current team Canterbury, Crusaders
All Black No. 1104
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2008– Canterbury 19 (15)
2010– Crusaders 127 (35)
Correct as of 20 May 2018
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2008 New Zealand U20 5 (5)
2010– New Zealand 102 (25)
Correct as of 10 September 2018

Samuel Lawrence Whitelock (born 12 October 1988[1]) is a New Zealand rugby union player who plays as a lock for the Crusaders, who he Captains in the Super Rugby competition and is signed to Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship.

Whitelock has captained the All Blacks in four of his appearances for them in international rugby. Whitelock has also played over 100 tests for the All Blacks since his debut in 2010 and is the youngest New Zealander in history to reach 100 tests. He is a key member of 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup winning teams, becoming one of only twenty dual Rugby Union World Cup winners.

Whitelock was the winner of New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year in 2017.

Playing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Whitelock was part of the World championship winning team, the Baby All Blacks at the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship.[2] He played 5 games, scoring a try against Argentina. Whitelock made his Air New Zealand Cup debut for Canterbury in 2008 against Wellington. His Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders was against the Highlanders in the 2010 Super 14 season.[3]

In 2010 he was selected into the All Blacks team for the 2010 mid-year rugby test series. He made his debut replacing Brad Thorn off the bench, against Ireland, and scored 2 tries.[4] Whitelock played ten tests in 2010 and has never missed a team naming for the team since his debut, earning two starts on the end of year tour. The first of which was a 26–16 win over England where he was replaced by Anthony Boric in the 66th minute and the second of which was a start against Scotland in a 49–3 win where he played for the full 80 minutes. Whitelock scored his third test try the following week in a 38-18 win over Ireland.[5]


After five appearances prior to the World Cup in 2011, he was selected into New Zealand's 30-man World Cup Squad and after starting in the second pool game against Japan which was an 83–7 win for New Zealand, he went on to hold this position for the rest of the World Cup, including the All Blacks' 8–7 win over France at Eden Park on 23 October, which saw them win the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Whitelock cemented his place as a regular starter for the All Blacks in 2012 and started in 13 of their 14 tests, only coming on as a replacement against Italy in Rome during a 42–10 win that year. Whitelock scored the fourth try of his test career in the 32-16 win over South Africa in the Rugby Championship, scoring the opening try for the All Blacks 25 minutes into the test.

After re-committing to New Zealand Rugby for another four years in 2013,[6] Whitelock and Brodie Retallick became a World-Class locking combination and started together eight times in 2013, with Whitelock playing in 12 of the All Blacks' 14 tests in 2013. Whitelock was only subbed off twice the All Blacks' unbeaten year, in tests against France, Australia and Argentina. He also played his 50th test in the 30–22 win over England on the 2013 end-of-year tour, but this was unfortunately overshadowed by the fact that 2005 and 2012 World Rugby Player of the Year-winning Crusaders teammate Dan Carter had been subbed off in the 25th minute of that match which was Carter's 100th.

Whitelock started in all three tests in the 2014 England rugby union tour of New Zealand with the All Blacks winning all three matches against England. Whitelock had another solid year in the black jersey, playing in a further eight tests that year. Whitelock carried this form into the 2015 Super Rugby season after the off-season, making rugby headlines after scoring a 60m solo try in a Super Rugby fixture against the Reds. Whitelock was selected for his second Rugby World Cup that year.[6] Whitelock played in every single All Blacks test in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, including the full 80 minutes of the three knockout rounds. The 34–17 win over Australia in the World Cup Final meant Whitelock would become one of 20 players to win a Rugby World Cup title multiple times.


Whitelock made his 100th appearance for the Crusaders in 2016, scoring the opening try of their 85-26 thrashing of the Melbourne Rebels.[6] After missing the first test against Wales due to injury in 2016, Whitelock returned to action in the second test of the Wales series, putting in another 80-minute performance. He became the most-capped All Blacks lock in 2016 making 11 appearances that year including one off the bench in a 36–17 win over Argentina on the 1st October, surpassing the now-retired Ian Jones' 79 tests as an All Blacks lock. Whitelock missed Ireland's 40-29 victory over New Zealand in that year's end-of-season tour due to injury, allowing Crusaders teammate Scott Barrett to make his debut, returning from his calf strain to face Ireland in a 21–9 win. Whitelock was one of the best performing players in the final test of 2016, which was a 24-19 scare from France, with the All Blacks going on to win 13 of their 14 tests that year.[6] Whitelock was nominated for the best New Zealand Player of the Year at the 2016 NZ Rugby Awards alongside teammates Dane Coles and Beauden Barrett being the other nominees. Whitelock and Coles lost the award to Barrett.

Whitelock has become an established member of the Crusaders and New Zealand leadership groups in recent years, with new Crusaders coach Scott Robertson naming Whitelock as the captain of the franchise for 2017. Whitelock had an outstanding Super Rugby campaign in 2017 with the exception of a two-week suspension for striking Cheetahs prop Charles Marais. Whitelock was also yellow-carded for doing so that match.[7] Whitelock captained the Crusaders in the historic fixture against the touring British and Irish Lions side in 2017, producing an 80-minute performance in the Crusaders' disappointing 3–12 loss to the Lions.

Whitelock was selected for the All Blacks' 33-man squad for the 2017 Pasifika Challenge against Samoa and three-test series against the British and Irish Lions. Whitelock started in all four of those matches but had his performance in the Lions series overshadowed by Brodie Retallick and the Lions' youngest player, English lock Maro Itoje who had started for the Lions twice in the test series. Whitelock returned from the Lions series to captain the Crusaders to their first Super Rugby title win since 2008. The Whitelock-lead Crusaders beat 2016 finalists the Lions 25–17 to claim their eighth Super Rugby title after losing only one match in the 2017 Super Rugby season.[7]

Whitelock re-committed to New Zealand Rugby for another three years in 2017 and he made 12 appearances for the All Blacks in 2017 and for the final test of 2017- a 33–18 win over Wales, was named as captain of the All Blacks for the first time of his career, becoming the 69th test captain of the All Blacks. This came after Crusaders teammate and regular All Blacks captain Kieran Read was ruled out of the test due to the need for back surgery. Whitelock's younger brother Luke Whitelock who had captained a second-string All Blacks side to a 28–23 win over a French XV earlier on the end-of-year tour replaced Read as the starting number 8 for the test. Whitelock performed well in his first test as captain but he was unfortunately awarded the fourth yellow card of his test career in the 67th minute of the Welsh test for a professional foul.

After returning home to New Zealand, Whitelock won two awards at the 2017 NZ Rugby Awards, one for Super Rugby Player of the Year, and was chosen over All Blacks teammate Rieko Ioane and Black Ferns player Sarah Goss for the best New Zealand Player of the Year. This was a rare double, with 2016 and 2017 World Rugby Player of the Year- Beauden Barrett, not considered for the awards Whitelock won.[7]

2018 Season[edit]

Whitelock was outstanding as Captain for the Crusaders in the 2018 Super Rugby season. After high amounts of media speculation, on 20th May 2018, Whitelock was named by New Zealand Head Coach Steve Hansen as the Captain of the All Blacks, with flanker Sam Cane and returning-from-injury fullback Ben Smith named as Vice-Captains for the All Blacks' three-test series against France during the June internationals.

Having been in doubt due to his second concussion of the 2018 season, Whitelock returned from injury to lead New Zealand to a 52-11 victory over France in the first test of the series, where he was not subbed off. Whitelock performed very well in the next two tests as well, allowing the 2018 French series to be a 3-0 win to New Zealand. Whitelock lead the tackle count in the second test, a 26-13 win, having made 14 tackles during the test. Whitelock had another great game in the third test, a 49-14 win, before being replaced by debutant Jackson Hemopo off the bench. Whitelock subsequently captained the Crusaders to win Super Rugby following the June internationals. The Crusaders beat the Lions 37-18 on 4th August 2018, to win their first Super Rugby title at home in ten years.

With previous All Black Captain, Kieran Read, returning from injury in the 2018 Rugby Championship, Whitelock stepped down as Captain for the competition. Whitelock began the tournament by playing his 100th test for New Zealand on 18th August 2018, with the All Blacks beating Australia 38-13. Whitelock was one of the best performing players on the field and also played his 47th test in combination with Brodie Retallick, who was Man of the Match. Whitelock also became the youngest All Black to reach 100 tests, being only 29 years old at the time of their victory over Australia.

Personal life[edit]

He is the younger brother of former Canterbury and Crusaders teammates George Whitelock and Adam Whitelock, the former of whom is a former All Black. Whitelock is also the older brother of current All Blacks teammate Luke Whitelock and son of a former Junior All Black, Braeden Whitelock. All four Whitelock brothers were educated in Feilding.[8] Whitelock's cousin Ben Funnell is his current Crusaders teammate and his grandfather Nelson Dalzell (1921-1989) is a former All Black.

Whitelock is married to Hannah Lawton and became a father to their first child in 2017.


  1. ^ "Canterbury Player Profile". Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Whitelock remembers a pretty cool time at JWC". IRB. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Crusaders Profile". 
  4. ^ "All Blacks v Ireland in New Plymouth". 12 June 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Ireland 18 New Zealand 38: match report - Telegraph". 21 November 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c d Retrieved 2 January 2018.  Missing or empty |title= (help) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  7. ^ a b c "Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock cops two-week ban for striking". Newshub. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2018.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  8. ^ Johannsen, Dana (9 September 2011). "All Black profile: Sam Whitelock". New Zealand Herald. 

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