Sam Whitelock emerges from Brodie Retallick’s shadow

marty beauchamp Roar Rookie

By marty beauchamp, marty beauchamp is a Roar Rookie

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    Sam Whitelock has been named to captain the All Blacks for today’s test against Wales. It will be his 95th test and his first as captain.

    Rugby fans in New Zealand would rate Whitelock as many things – an integral part of the modern-day All Blacks, a superb modern-day lock and absolutely part of the senior player group – but he has played so many of those 95 tests alongside Brodie Retallick.

    An excellent article on The Roar earlier this week rating the nominees for this year’s world player of the year showed how quickly Retallick’s name crops up the minute that awards are mentioned – and equally how quickly other forwards pale in the comparison to him.

    If anyone is going to go on to a legacy approaching that of the late great Pinetree Meads, it will be Retallick.

    Yet locks tend to operate in partnerships, and Whitelock has been a huge part of Retallick’s success, just as he has benefited from the skill and energy of his partner in crime.

    In the same way Kieran Read is so often mentioned when opponents are asked to name the player they respect most, the one that they feel adds the x-factor to the All Blacks and the Crusaders.

    Read is an excellent All Blacks captain – and what task that was, taking on the mantle after Richie. But Whitelock seemed a very natural fit into the captaincy role he fulfilled this year in the all-conquering Crusaders juggernaut, and he has been the quiet achiever in for so long under Read.

    Now we get to see Whitelock lead the haka and then the team without both Read and Retallick.

    Add in Whitelock’s brother in the place of Read and the fact their family will be there watching in Wales, where Sam’s grandfather played as part of the last All Blacks team to lose there in the 1950s, and 95 tests later my money is on the hulking lock for a man-of-the-match performance and a typically understated captain’s interview afterwards.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • November 26th 2017 @ 11:30pm
      Rhys Bosley said | November 26th 2017 @ 11:30pm | ! Report

      Whitelock doesn’t live in Retallick’s shadow, they are different and complementary players who cast a huge muther of a shadow together.

      I like Whitelock as a person too, mainly because I saw him check up to see if Rob Simmons was ok in a match once, when Simmo was flat on his back after being landed on by most of the All Black’s tight five. A bit of decency on the field goes a long way towards a player’s reputation.

      • November 27th 2017 @ 12:32pm
        R2D2 said | November 27th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        Whitelock would always be one of the first you would pick , absolute team man, all the skills and more. Retallick is the same. These two stand together and neither takes away from the other.

      • November 27th 2017 @ 10:15pm
        SAVAGE said | November 27th 2017 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

        Agreed. They compliment each other, and like you said, they cast a hell of a shadow together.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 8:25am
        mania said | November 28th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        agree agree agree
        whitelock has never been in retallicks shadow.
        whitelock sjines bright in his own right

    • Roar Guru

      November 27th 2017 @ 2:04pm
      Ralph said | November 27th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

      I agree Mr Whitelock has grown into a very impressive individual. His mum and dad should be very proud.

    • November 27th 2017 @ 4:04pm
      lassitude said | November 27th 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

      Sam Whitelock is a truly impressive player in his own right and has never been in Rettalick’s shadow vis-a-vis tight forward play. He’s probably the first tight forward on the team sheet and it confounds me how under-appreciated he is by the hoi peloi – who seem to only see the glitz and not the substance.

    • November 30th 2017 @ 5:39am
      richard said | November 30th 2017 @ 5:39am | ! Report

      Totally agree with the comments here.I have never understood why people don’t rate Whitelock.To me,he has never been in Retallick’s shadow.He is every bit as good as BR.

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