Sam Whitlock's truth about his decision to leave New Zealand for Pau!

Sam Whitlock's truth about his decision to leave New Zealand for Pau!

New Zealand international second row Sam Whitlock spoke via the team.

The latter decided to leave his country at the end of the World Cup in order to join the Palaoise division among the top 14.

Pau manager Sébastien Piqueronies told an anecdote to explain how professional his player was. Extracts:

“After his first matches, he called up one of his former coaches with the Black team. He questioned him and then came to see us and asked if we were interested in discussing the matter. That sums up Sam.”

Sam Whitlock explained his decision to join PAO.

This is confirmed by: his brother Luke did everything in his power to bring him to Pau with him. Extracts:

“If we were in Pau today, all the credit goes to Luke (Whitlock, his brother, section commander). He was the beachhead. He really did the job of pulling us in. Since he's been here (2019), every time we see each other, he's asked me When would I join him? Every time, he planted a different little seed in my head, a rugby seed, a seed for the area, a seed for the kitchen, etc. And when we decided, I called him just to ask him once and for all if we would be happy. It's a family decision.

After three months here, I'm not surprised because Luke and my older brother Adam, who played at Bayonne (2014-2017), told me a lot of things and didn't lie to me. The family has a strong connection with the region. During the World Cup, my parents came too. We are rural people, so the city, its size and its environment were important. There is everything to be good with the surrounding countryside, the Pyrenees where children learn to ski and ski, and the sea an hour's drive away…”

However, Sam Whitlock explains that adaptation is complex, especially in terms of language. Extracts:

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“Learning a new language was part of the challenge we faced. There are days when I'm so happy because I think I've understood, and the next day, nothing, it's terrible! Complex, French. I also feel like my New Zealand accent is not easy for French people to understand. But The club, the team and the city help us a lot. My wife and I take lessons, the two eldest of us go to an international school and I just have to listen to them to make progress.

They came up the stairs, counting in French, asking me how to say words like “horse,” “dog,” and so on. Everything is a game, and having Luke makes things so much easier for me. Although he told me his French was not good, I heard him discussing with the referees, coaches, team and fans. »

In the process, Sam Whitlock explains that he could have finished his career in New Zealand, but he really wanted to discover a new environment before hanging up his boots. Extracts:

“Yes, I could have stayed in New Zealand, where I still had to overcome challenges. I had no intention of stopping, even when I was 35 years old. I spent many years with the Crusaders (2010-2023), and with the team All Blacks (retired from international football after the last World Cup), so much so that I needed something else. I wanted a new environment, to see things differently. Once we change the setting, everything changes, styles, people, etc. And you have to adapt and find better What's in this new story. I'm very curious about other approaches, other ways of doing things, to discuss with the idea of ​​moving the club and the team forward. I really like it, offering ideas, suggesting.

The most important thing for me here is to help the young players. To achieve this, I will have to improve my French so that I can pass on some little tips to them that helped me along the way. But sometimes the best way to help or lead by example is not to talk, but to act. It's a positioning, a repetition of subtle gestures… and it's up to them to use it or not. It's a two-way street, because the energy of young players is contagious. I receive it, I feed on it. Every person is a leader in his own way. Hugo (Horado) is only 20 years old, but he stands out for his actions and behavior on the pitch. There is so much you can convey without having to say a single word. »

Finally, Sam Whitlock spoke about the ambitions of the Baloise department. Extracts:

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“If you are here, it is also because the department has been progressing over the years, has ambitions and a desire to move forward with many very talented young players. I wanted this. When I arrived, the club was on the podium and we had not won a single game (Whitlock started in a 13-34 defeat) Against Oyonnax, on the 11th, and his first win in Bordeaux, 20-10, on the 15th). Dan Robson kept teasing me, saying it was all my fault, and nothing had gone wrong since I came. He wanted to hit me! And at the time Same, I quickly realized that the top 14 is very competitive: two wins and you go up five places, two defeats and you go down! In the game itself, I had no difficulty adapting. And then there are things that are different about New Zealand.

Indeed, in the BAO squad, there must be 11 different nationalities. This is incredible wealth. One thing that has struck me since I've been here is the different way of seeing home games and away games, while it never makes a difference to me, it's always a game to win. I hear it in all the discourse, between the fans, the club environment, and the team. I've felt it more in recent days as Bayon is the next opponent in Hamo. We are excited, because it is not a match like any other. It's the big derby! I can't wait to try this. »

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