All Blacks loose forward Luke Whitelock has recommitted to the Highlanders, Canterbury and New Zealand Rugby to the end of 2019.
Whitelock, who made his debut for the All Blacks in 2013, has played a total of 84 Super Rugby matches, which includes 34 matches for the Highlanders. He has played three times for the All Blacks.
“I feel I am playing some of my best rugby at the moment and I am really enjoying my time in Dunedin and with the Highlanders.
“I am glad the decision to stay has been made and now I can focus on playing as best I can for the Highlanders and the All Blacks,” said Whitelock.
Whitelock captained the Highlanders to an historic win against the British and Irish Lions in 2017 and has led Canterbury to three consecutive titles in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach Aaron Mauger said the club is delighted to have Whitelock recommit.
“Luke is a quality guy, outstanding player and is a key part of our leadership group in the Highlanders. As a club we are delighted that he has recommitted to us until the end of 2019.”
All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen echoed Mauger’s sentiment.
“It’s great that an All Black and senior player in his Super club and province has recommitted to New Zealand. His leadership potential was evident when he captained the All Blacks against the French XV last year, so we congratulate him on his decision.”
Canterbury Coach Joe Maddock said Whitelock’s leadership skills are invaluable.
“Luke has been an important member of Canterbury Rugby for the past seven seasons, and an inspirational captain, leading the side to consecutive titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“His strength lies in his ability to lead by example; he’s a tough, uncompromising player, has a work ethic that is second to none and gets the best out of those around him. We are fortunate to have a player of his character re-commit to the red and black jersey,” said Maddock.
Whitelock played for New Zealand Schools in 2008, was a member the World Championship New Zealand Under 20 squad in 2010 and captained the team in 2011. He made his All Black debut in Japan in 2013 and regained selection in 2017, captaining the All Blacks against a French XV. His brothers Sam and George have also represented the All Blacks.