Sam Whitelock: New Zealand's most-capped player to retire this summer

Sam Whitelock

New Zealand's most-capped player Sam Whitelock will retire at the end of the French club season in June.

The lock, who played 153 times for the All Blacks, retired from international rugby after defeat by South Africa in last autumn's World Cup final.

The 35-year-old won back-to-back World Cups in 2011 and 2015 and moved to Top 14 side Pau last year.

"It's time to finish the playing chapter of rugby," Whitelock said in an All Blacks statement.

"I've been having a few conversations with my wife Hannah and the kids around what the future looks like for us.

"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."

After making his international debut in 2010, Whitelock went on to become the youngest All Black to play in 100 Tests and the quickest to achieve the milestone.

His overall appearance record places him second only to Alun Wyn Jones of Wales on the all-time list of most-capped men's internationals.

The second row also holds the record for the most appearances in the men's World Cup with 26 outings, winning 23 of them.

New Zealand head coach Scott Robertson added: "Sam is an immortal of our incredible game. In terms of his rugby, Sam's impact has been immense, both mentally and physically over four World Cup cycles.

"He is a winner who rose to any occasion, as his competitive spirit drove him to the highest level of performance."

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