New Zealand Rugby has paid tribute to All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, who became the All Blacks’ eighth Test Centurion, playing against Australia at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia, tonight.
The All Blacks won the match 38 – 13.
29-year-old Whitelock is the first lock in the team’s history to play 100 Tests, and joins an illustrious group of special players who have achieved the milestone: Richie McCaw (148, 2001-2015), Keven Mealamu (132, 2002 – 2015), Tony Woodcock (118, 2002 – 2015), Daniel Carter (112, 2003 – 2015), current All Blacks Captain Kieran Read (109, 2008 – ), Ma’a Nonu (103, 2003 – 2015) and Mils Muliaina (100, 2003 – 2011).
He was presented with the traditional silver cap for 100 Tests by Read at the end of tonight’s game.
New Zealand Rugby Chair Brent Impey said: “On behalf of New Zealand Rugby and All Blacks fans both in New Zealand and around the world, we congratulate Sam on reaching this very special milestone.
“Not only is he an outstanding rugby player but also a hugely respected leader in the All Blacks.
“It’s fantastic that he is able to celebrate his milestone with his wife Hannah and the rest of his big family watching on here in Sydney.”
Impey said Whitelock had captained the All Blacks on four occasions, including the recent Steinlager Series, and had done so “with real composure and a natural and inclusive leadership style.”
“He has been one of the most consistent players in the All Blacks throughout his career and hasn’t missed many games since making his debut back in 2012. His meticulous attention to detail is legendary and the way he plays the game – whether it’s in the lineouts, cleaning rucks or on defence – is truly world class. We salute him for everything he has done for the game.”
Since making his Test debut in 2012, Samuel Lawrence Whitelock has helped redefine the role of the modern lock. He scored two tries on debut (and is currently on five) and racked up 25 Tests in his first two years in the black jersey. He was a key player for the All Blacks as they went back to back as champions at RWC 2011 and RWC 2015.
He has played 17 different opponents in his career to date, with a quarter of his Tests against tonight’s foe, Australia. The 2017 New Zealand Player of the Year is also a Super Rugby Centurion who led his Crusaders team to back to back Investec Super Rugby titles in 2017 and 2018.
Whitelock announced last year that he had re-signed with New Zealand Rugby through to 2020.
A hugely talented basketballer in his teenage years, as a younger rugby player, he locked for New Zealand Schools in 2005 and 2006, New Zealand Under 19 in 2007 and was part of the 2008 New Zealand Under 20 side that claimed the inaugural Junior World Championship.
As well as his brother Luke, who plays alongside him in the All Blacks, his grandfather Nelson Dalzell, great-uncle Allan Elsom and another brother George have also played for the All Blacks while brother Adam played for the All Blacks Sevens and father Braeden played for Manawatu.