New Zealand Rugby Legend Sam Whitelock Announces Retirement Plans

Sam Whitelock, New Zealand’s most-capped player, has revealed his decision to retire from professional rugby at the conclusion of the French club season in June. With 153 appearances for the All Blacks, Whitelock retired from international rugby following the World Cup final defeat to South Africa last year. The 35-year-old, who secured consecutive World Cup victories in 2011 and 2015, embarked on a new chapter by joining Top 14 side Pau in 2021.

In a statement released by the All Blacks, Whitelock expressed his readiness to close the playing chapter of his rugby career. Reflecting on his decision, he acknowledged the ongoing desire to compete but recognised the inevitability of transitioning into the next stage of life, particularly after conversations with his wife Hannah and their children.

Since his international debut in 2010, Whitelock has left an indelible mark on the rugby world. He holds the distinction of being the youngest All Black to reach 100 Tests, and he achieved this milestone at a remarkable pace. His illustrious career places him second only to Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones on the all-time list of most-capped men’s internationals. Furthermore, Whitelock boasts the record for the most appearances in the men’s World Cup, having participated in 26 matches and emerging victorious in 23.

Scott Robertson, the head coach of the New Zealand team, lauded Whitelock as an “immortal” of the game, emphasising his profound impact on rugby both mentally and physically across four World Cup cycles. Robertson praised Whitelock’s competitive spirit, highlighting his unwavering commitment to delivering peak performances on the global stage.

As Whitelock prepares to bid farewell to professional rugby, his legacy as a formidable athlete and leader within the sport remains intact. His retirement marks the end of an era for New Zealand rugby, yet his contributions will continue to resonate within the sport for years to come.