Whitelock relishing Bok challenge

Date published: September 12 2017

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock is excited to lock horns with a physically-demanding Springbok outfit on Saturday.

Whitelock said facing the Springboks is tough on the body but he loves the competition and is relishing the clash in Albany.

“It’s one of those awesome Test matches you hope to be part of. If you go back through history between South Africa and New Zealand, those are the games people talk about 10 or 20 or 30 years later. No doubt this one will be the same,” Whitelock told SARugbyMag.

“The beauty I love about it, is they’re big, strong guys and there is always that physical battle. They really pride themselves on it, so you always know it’s going to be physical.

“They’re really confident and when a team is confident things normally come off for them. In their first couple of games, they played typical South African rugby; their big, strong guys were carrying hard and they were using their skills when releasing the ball to go wide.”

Whitelock also praised his opposing second-row Eben Etzebeth on the growth and maturity he has shown as Bok captain.

“He’s developed massively from when he first arrived. He was similar to myself and made the starting lineup when he was quite young,” he said.

“It’s always a steep learning curve for any player but he has really grown and evolved in that leadership role, and seems to be really enjoying it. When you’re enjoying your rugby, normally you’re playing great.”