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

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Sam Whitelock
Sam Whitelock started New Zealand’s World Cup semi-final against Argentina

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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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang



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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.



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Ross Molony: Leinster locks signs for Bath Rugby on three-year contract from 2024-25

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Ross Molony
Ross Molony has won four league titles and the European Champions Cup with Leinster

Bath have announced the signing of Leinster lock Ross Molony on a three-year contract.

The 29-year-old will join up with the Somerset club ahead of the 2024-25 season.

Molony has made 177 appearances for Leinster and has won four league titles and the European Champions Cup with the Dublin club.

Leinster are currently five points clear at the top of the United Rugby Championship table.

They face Premiership leaders Northampton Saints on Saturday, May 4, for a place in a third Champions Cup final in a row.

“Ross is a true professional and his journey in rugby is a testament to this,” director of rugby Johann van Graan told the club’s website.external-link

“His work ethic and leadership are some of his key characteristics and I believe he will play a huge part in our journey in the next number of years.”

Bath are currently second in the Premiership, five points behind Northampton.



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