At 34 years old, Samuel (Sam) Whitelock is one of the leading locks in the New Zealand rugby union today. He currently plays for the Crusaders in Super Rugby, Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup, and also is a team member on the All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby union team.
Whitelock was born in 1988 in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He played rugby at a young age and has always loved the game, as he comes from a family full of rugby players and enthusiasts. His grandfather, Nelson Dalzell, his great-uncle, Allan Elsom, and his brothers, George and Luke, have also played for the All Blacks. Also, his brother, Adam, played for the All Blacks Sevens and his father, Braeden, played for Manawatu.
On the pitch
Whitelock’s professional career also began at a young age, where he was a member of New Zealand Under 19 and also New Zealand’s Under-20 rugby league. In 2008, Whitelock joined the Canterbury rugby team. Just two years later in 2010, he joined the Crusaders. His impressive skills as a lock were quickly obvious to the rugby community, and so that very same year, he also joined the All Blacks.
His first international debut was against Ireland. In 2020, he played for the Japanese rugby team, the Wild Knights. New Zealand is thrilled to have him back home, continuing to lead and captain his teams in his hometown!
Although Whitelock is best known for being one of the finest locks in rugby, his ability to play other positions on the field is also noteworthy, making him a very valuable player. Not only are Whitelock’s athletic skills, his agility, ball handling, and strength impressive, but his natural leadership skills make him a strong captain and leader in New Zealand rugby. He has been an essential part of the success of the various teams he has been on.
Just a few of Whitelock’s Notable Titles and Wins
- Whitelock was a member of New Zealand Under-20 and won the IRB Junior World Championship in 2008
- He has attended three Rugby World Cups, and has won it twice (in 2011 and 2015)
- Whitelock has been a part of the winning team in the Rugby Championship many times
- With more than 170 Test caps, Whitelock is one of the fastest players to reach 100 international appearances, and also one of the youngest rugby players in New Zealand to reach 100 tests.
- He has captained and led the All Blacks many times, and has played in more than 120 games for the All Blacks
- Whitelock became the most-capped All Blacks lock in 2016 (surpassing Ian Jones’ record of 79 Test matches)
- Also in 2016, he played his 100th match for the Crusaders
- In 2017, Whitelock was titled New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year.
- In 2018, Whitelock became the eighth Test centurion
- In 2020, Whitelock became one of seven rugby players on the Crusaders to reach 150 games for the club. The number of appearances he has had for the Crusaders has continued to increase.
- Whitelock has won the Super Rugby title multiple times with the Crusaders
- In 2023, Whitelock played his 350th First Class game on the Crusaders
We can’t wait to see what’s next!
Whitelock’s rugby career has been nothing short of impressive. But we know he is nowhere close to being done with the game. His current titles and wins are noteworthy and exciting, but we know Whitelock has so much more to bring to the game, and we cannot wait to follow along and watch.
He is a versatile player, a natural leader, and an essential member to the All Blacks and the Crusaders. Whitelock’s obvious dedication to the sport, his team, and his community have made him one of the most respected players in the game. As he continues to play in New Zealand rugby, there is no doubt that Whitelock will continue to have a positive influence on the sport and the overall community.
Also, while playing rugby at Lincoln University, Whitelock also received a degree in plant science. As some of you may know, when Whitelock is not on the field, he is also a farmer and runs a sheep and beef property in Hawke’s Bay. We look forward to following his future on and off the rugby pitch!