Whitelock ‘would have loved’ to lead All Blacks again

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, who led the team on six occasions, is ready to give new captain Sam Cane all his support
SUPPORTING ROLE: All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, who led the team on six occasions, is ready to give new captain Sam Cane all his support
Image: GETTY IMAGES/HANNAH PETERS

Sam Whitelock “would have loved” to have been given the chance to skipper the All Blacks again but the 117-Test veteran says he will do everything he can to help Sam Cane in the role after the loose forward was handed the armband by new coach Ian Foster.

Whitelock, who has led the side six times, had been expected to succeed Kieran Read after the number eight retired from Tests after 2019’s World Cup, but Foster opted for Cane, 28, as his new captain earlier in May.

“I would have loved to have had the opportunity,” Whitelock said in a conference call on Friday. “I’ve had a bit of a taste of it in previous years and I would have liked to have had [another] go.

“But I know how much goes into it and that you don’t need the captain’s armband to help people out and make a difference, and Sam is going to need all the help and support he can get. I’m keen to help him out where I can.”

Whitelock has returned to New Zealand to rejoin the Canterbury Crusaders after his playing sabbatical with the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan was cut short when the competition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Super Rugby season was postponed in mid-March after seven weeks of matches, the five New Zealand sides will play a 10-week domestic competition starting on June 13.

“It is going to be challenging. There are going to be some sore bodies and some big clashes,” the 31-year-old lock said of the competition.

“But I think that’s what the public want. They want to be entertained and I think that is what everyone is after.”

 

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