New Zealand – Italy: Sam Whitlock, the indestructible All Black who became the most capped player in history

He is on the verge of becoming the record holder for selections for New Zealand.
All Blacks' eternal second row Sam Whitlock is set to celebrate his 149th cap on Friday evening against Italy (9pm on TF1, MYTF1 and TF1info).
With two world titles under his belt, he is aiming to achieve a hat-trick of assists that no one has ever achieved in rugby history.

No, Sam Whitlock was not part of New Zealand's world champion team in 1987. But according to legend Dan Carter, “It's like”Where the second row has been a pillar of the All Blacks team for a long time. Friday 29 September evening, against Italy (9 pm live on TF1, MYTF1 and live commentary on TF1info), the 34-year-old should become the most capped New Zealander of all time, with 149 caps.

On the bench at the start of the match, Pau’s second row equaled the number of selections of legend Richie McCaw (2001-2015), against Namibia (71-3), mid-September. On Friday evening, all the conditions are available for him to excel and enter a little bit into the history of the oval ball. “In every match, Sam brings something new to the moment.”His coach, Ian Foster, is thrilled. “He equaled the record (in international matches) last week, and he will break it this week, and his 150th match will reach, and then he will become the player who played the most matches for the All Blacks in the World Cup… Every day bears witness to the successes he achieves.” “We want to honor this achievement, because it deserves it, and we will do that after this match.”

Only the selection record of all countries will hold up to him

Because Sam Whitlock is chasing records. By playing his 22nd World Cup match next Friday in Lyon, he will also become tied with Richie McCaw and England corner Jason Leonard as the player who has played the most World Cup matches. It is a record he will hold alone, if he participates in the final group match against Uruguay, on October 5 (9pm on TF1, MYTF1 and TF1info), still in León.

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Awards, too, Sam Whitlock is fond of. At the age of 34, he can end his career quietly, away from the stress and pressure of the World Cup. the reason ? The 2.02m tall, 120kg athlete has lifted the Webb Ellis Cup twice, in 2011 and 2015. And each time, he played in the final as a starting player. But he chose to try to pass all three and, if the All Blacks win the competition, he will become the first player in history to score three caps (in four matches).

Unparalleled statistics, which surprised even Dan Carter, another New Zealand rugby legend. “Sam is going to break a record that I never thought I would surpass.”He confirmed to Agence France-Presse. “It's well deserved. I've seen him reach the All Blacks, grow, become a true leader, and very influential with his partners. This record shows how dedicated he is to the Black jersey, always putting the team first.”

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Stepping into the rugby history books a little further on Friday, Sam Whitlock won't be filling all the pages. Because the record for the most selections, in all countries combined, would still be very high for him. It belongs to the recently retired Welshman Alun Wyn Jones, who played 170 international matches (158 with Wales, 12 with the British and Irish Lions).

Therefore, Whitlock will still miss 21 international matches… a number he will never reach, as he will end his international career at the end of the World Cup. It's a final adventure he hopes will prove successful, but it may also end: if Italy win their match against New Zealand, the All Blacks will be eliminated from the group stage for the first time in their history. I'm not sure Whitlock dreams of such a scenario in describing his book of records…

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