Sport | All Black great Whitelock to retire at end of French season

Sam Whitelock, the most capped player in All Blacks history, will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current club season in France, his federation announced.

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Sam Whitelock, the most capped player in All Blacks history, will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current club season in France, his federation announced on Tuesday. Whitelock, a 35-year-old lock, played 153 times for New Zealand and won two World Cups. He joined Pau in France's Top 14 on a two-year contract after New Zealand were beaten by a single point by South Africa in the World Cup final last year.

Whitelock started the final on the bench but came on in the 55th minute. The announcement he is retiring will put an end to speculation that new All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson had approached him about making a return to Test rugby this year. "I've been having a few conversations with my wife Hannah and the kids around what the future looks like for us.



And it's time to finish the playing chapter of rugby," Whitelock said in an All Blacks statement. "I think if you talk to anyone who has played for a long time, that desire (to compete) never leaves, it's just that stage of life when you move on. "It's not a decision that we have come to lightly, but it's the right thing for myself and it's the right thing for my wife and our three kids - Fred, Iris and Penelope.

"And I think that is what excites me the most - spending more time with my kids and my wife, and actually watching them play sport. Being able to go to the cross-country at school and those things." Whitelock won his first Test cap in 2010 against Ireland and was the youngest All Black to play i.