All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock has pledged his immediate future with New Zealand Rugby, Canterbury and Crusaders after signing a new deal at least until 2023.
Whitelock made his professional rugby debut with provincial side Canterbury in 2008 with his Super Rugby debut for Crusaders coming two years later. The 30-year-old enjoyed back to back Super Rugby titles with Crusaders during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Whitelock is also the most capped lock for the All Blacks and went on to win the New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year in 2017. He made his New Zealand debut in 2010 and has gone on to play 108 Tests and is among the 20 dual Rugby Union World Cup winners when the All Blacks went on to clinch the tournament during the 2011 and 2015 editions.
“This is a major re-signing for us and we’re absolutely delighted that Sam has chosen to sign a four-year deal. He’s a world-class player, an All Blacks Centurion, the most capped All Blacks lock of all time and he carries immense mana," New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said.
“His recommitment alongside a number of other key players gives us a strong foundation for the next four years. I know the news will be welcomed by fans here in New Zealand and around the world.
“As well as Sam, I’d like to thank his wife Hannah and his agent Warren Alcock who played a key role in the contract negotiations and were fantastic to deal with.”
As per the contract, Whitelock will be allowed to join Japanese club Panasonic on a short-term deal post World Cup and will join Super Rugby for the 2021 season.
“I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby, the Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby for their support of myself and my family in making this decision, and I’m really proud to commit to these teams for the next four years.
“Ultimately, this decision allows me to take some time with my family to experience a new rugby environment in Japan, before coming back refreshed and ready for the remainder of 2020 and beyond. I’m pleased there is clarity around my playing future, so I can focus on the remainder of this 2019 season with the Crusaders.”