Sam Whitelock will play in his 148th Test for the All Blacks on Friday in Toulouse when the New Zealanders play Namibia in a World Cup match.
The 34-year-old lock, who stands 2.03m in his socks and tips the scales at 120kg, made his international debut against Ireland 13 years ago and he immediately celebrated the milestone with two tries.
In addition to his many tests, he also led the All Blacks on the field a few times, while he boasts two World Cup winners’ medals.
“Sam’s 148th test is a very big opportunity for him and for the team. He is an All Black warrior and to equal Richie’s record is an incredible achievement,” said Ian Foster.
According to the New Zealand rugby coach, the All Blacks want to make their mark against the Namibians; After all, Whitelock must be able to look back on his milestone match with a smile.
“Such a performance deserves a good performance and we would like to celebrate with him after the game.”
Ardie Savea will take the Kiwis’ captaincy reins and the starless forward says that Whitelock is a player he has always looked up to.
“Sam is one of the hardest working players in the group and I have a lot of respect for the way he can just adapt to everything. After all, he has been part of the All Black setup since the days of Richie and Kieran Read.”
Whitelock will line up with Brodie Retallick in the New Zealanders’ lines.
The match kicks off on Friday at 21:00 and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
All Blacks: Beauden Barrett (full back), Caleb Clarke (right wing), Anton Lienert-Brown (outside centre), David Havili (inside centre), Leicester Fainga’anuku (left wing), Damian McKenzie (fly-half), Cam Roigard (scrum-half), Ardie Savea (captain and eighth), Dalton Papali’i (flank), Luke Jacobson (flank), Sam Whitelock (lock), Brodie Retallick (lock), Nepo Laulala (prop), Samisoni Taukei’aho (hooker) and Ofa Tuungafasi (prop). Substitutes: Dane Coles, Ethan de Groot, Fletcher Newell, Scott Barrett, Tupou Vaa’i, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga and Rieko Ioane.
Namibia: Cliven Loubser (full back), Gerswin Mouton (right wing), Johan Deysel (captain and outside centre), Le Roux Malan (inside centre), Divan Rossouw (left wing), Tiaan Swanepoel (fly-half), Damian Stevens (scrum-half), Richard Hardwick (eighth man) , Prince Gaoseb (flank), Wian Conradie (flank), Tjiuee Uanivi (lock), Johan Retief (lock), Aranos Coetzee (prop), Torsten van Jaarsveld (hooker) and Jason Benade (prop). Substitutes: Louis van der Westhuizen, Des Sethie, Haitembu Shifuka, PJ van Lil, Adriaan Booysen, Max Katjijeko, Jacques Theron and JC Greyling.