From his rugby-playing family to his farming background

Who is Sam Whitelock: Ten things you should know about the All Blacks lock

Part of a hugely successful Crusaders squad, Sam Whitelock is also a Test centurion and is an impressive leader.

Ten things you should know about Sam Whitelock

1. Samuel Lawrence Whitelock was born in Palmerston North, on 12 October 1988, and attended Feilding High School in the Manawatu District of New Zealand’s North Island.

Aaron Smith and Codie Taylor also attended the school, as did three more Whitelock brothers.

2. There are three Whitelock brothers who have played rugby at a high level apart from Sam. Adam played in the backs for Crusaders and Bayonne and represented NZ Sevens, George, a back-row, won one cap for the All Blacks against Italy in 2009 and Luke won seven caps between 2013 and 2018. Cousin Ben Funnell played hooker for the Crusaders.

3. The Whitelock brothers’ grandfather was Nelson Dalzell, a lock who won five All Black caps on the 1953-54 tour of Europe. Dalzell played 22 times for New Zealand in all, scoring five tries.

4. Sam Whitelock made his New Zealand Test debut against Ireland at New Plymouth in June 2010, scoring two tries in a 66-28 win. He had played for New Zealand Schools and U19 and was part of the 2008 U20 side that won the first Junior World Cup, held in Wales in 2008. New Zealand beat England 38-3 in the final in Swansea.

5. Whitelock won his 50th cap against England in November 2013 and his 100th against Australia on 18 August 2018, in Sydney, a 38-13 win. He was the eighth New Zealander to achieve the milestone, and the first All Black lock, making it in eight years and 67 days – another record.

6. Whitelock played all seven games for the All Blacks at Rugby World Cups in 2011 and 2015, winning both tournaments, and five games at Japan in 2019.

7. Whitelock married his long-term partner Hannah Lawton in 2016. The couple met as students at Lincoln University in Christchurch and have three children.

8. In 2017, Whitelock was named New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year and Super Rugby Player of the Year after leading the Crusaders to that year’s title.

9. Whitelock is an ambassador for Farmstrong, an initiative to help farmers, and says he will return to full-time farming once his playing career is done. He owns land in Hawke’s Bay where cattle and sheep are reared.

10. Whitelock filled in as captain of the All Blacks, for the injured Sam Cane, in 2021. Ardie Savea then took over when the lock stayed in New Zealand for the birth of his third child, Penelope.

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