We caught up with Crusaders and All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock
1. How do you think the Crusaders are playing this year?
I think they are playing a great brand of rugby, having a great balance of tight play and running rugby.
2. Are you looking forward to playing in the Rugby World Cup in your home country?
Playing any game at home is great but play the RWC in New Zealand will be great for the whole country and the players involved.
3. How do you think the All Blacks will do in the tournament?
I think they will do well, we will just have to wait and see there is still a lot of rugby to be played before we get there.
4. You have recently become a regular in the All Blacks squad, how does that feel to reach that achievement?
To do it so early and being young still is hard to believe at times. It's great though as all the people involved are really helpful and will go out of their way to help you and the team.
5. Who was your rugby idol growing up?
I didn't just have one. I really enjoyed watching the outside backs scoring tries from 60m out. By Christian Cullen was great to watch
6. So far what has been your career highlight?
First game for the All Blacks.
7. Which players impress you from Northern Hemisphere teams?
There were a lot of players that stood out, but I was more impressed with the commitment shown by every player no one backed down.
8. Who has been the toughest player you have played against so far?
Playing against players I grew up watching was hard at the start. But playing Victor Matfield was one game I found hard. He new what I was thinking and I was always one step behind in defence.
9. Who is the best player you have played with?
Brad Thorn, just look at how many years he has been playing for at the highest level.
10. Did you enjoy the opportunity to play in Twickenham for the Crusaders even though it was for a great cause?
I did until I become hurt. So that took some shine off.
11. You play in a team with some fantastic international players, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Sonny Bill Williams, and Brad Thorn and emerging players such as yourself, does it make it easier a lot of the All Blacks squad comes from the Crusaders when it comes to combining as an international side?
Yes it does make it easier as I get to play alongside these players all the time and get to build relationships with them.
12. Which stadium has been the best you have played in?
There is no place like home. I really enjoy playing at AMI
13. Did you enjoy scoring 2 tries against Ireland after coming off the bench at the freshly opened Aviva Stadium?
Sure did, as I scored after my first touch, I felt like I was in the game right away. The rest of the game is a bit of a blur.
14. As a successful professional what advice would you give to youngsters who are trying to make it as a professional rugby player?
Have heaps of fun. Try things.
15. Do you enjoy travelling the world with the All Blacks squad?
Every city around the world loves having the all blacks there. Just seeing people getting excited is great.
Favourite holiday destination? Beach
Favourite food? Fresh Fruit
Favourite movies? The Hangover
Favourite band/artist? All old school.
Hero (who isn't in rugby)? M. Jordan
Favourite sport/team (which isn't in rugby)? Bulls (NBA)
What do you do in your spare time when not playing rugby? I am still at university so most of the time I'm trying to catch up on class. I also enjoy the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and farming.
What do you think of talkingrugbyunion.co.uk? I think its great there is a place fans can go to get the latest results and views on team's players and comps.
Finally “ if you had a message to say to your fans that have been supporting the Crusaders week in week out, what would you say to all of them?
Thanks guys, your support has been felt even more this year with not having a home ground in Christchurch. Keep up the great work