This would have been the 30-year-old’s opportunity to take a longer, more lucrative move abroad, something that so many of his teammates have done. While he has managed to wrangle and unprecedented new deal which allows him to move, his commitment to the All Blacks has been commended.
Many New Zealand players take sabbaticals or permanent moves after the World Cup, and many fans feel that Whitelock must have been lured with the prospect of captaining his country. This is what the fans have said on Twitter:
Must have promised him the captaincy post World Cup
— Tom Sansom (@sansom_tom) May 1, 2019
The future skipper
— Godwin Mucheka (@gmucheka1) April 30, 2019
He's definitely succeeding Kieran https://t.co/7beVEs9bsr
— I am Iron man? (@nqobzasheen) May 1, 2019
The Next Centurion.
The Next Captain. https://t.co/2D5sraGvqK
— Eugenio Astesiano (@UgeAstesiano) May 1, 2019
With incumbent captain Kieran Read set to move to Japanese outfit Toyota Verblitz after the World Cup, bringing his international career to an end, there will be a huge gap to be filled with regards to captaincy.
Read has been the All Black’s skipper since Richie McCaw retired in 2015, and while the likes of Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane have been touted as potential successors, this latest deal is the greatest indication that Whitelock will lead the All Blacks in the post Read and Steve Hansen era.
Since his debut in 2010, Whitelock has won 108 caps for the All Blacks, winning two World Cups, seven Rugby Championships as well as two Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders. He has been a great servant to New Zealand rugby over the past decade, and looks to be rewarded for his service.
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