Brodie Retallick Why All Blacks coach Ian Foster shouldn’t make Sam Whitelock his captain

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New All Blacks coach Ian Foster says he’s happy that the players backed his appointment to the top job.

OPINION:All Blacks coach Ian Foster has promised, among other things, to be innovative in his new job.

Certainly creative thinking will be required when he selects a captain to replace Kieran Read in the wake of his retirement from the international scene after the World Cup in Japan.

Brodie Retallick Sam Whitelock is the favourite to replace Kieran Read as All Blacks captain but his decision to skip Super Rugby to play in Japan is a complicating factor in his appointment.

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Sam Whitelock is the favourite to replace Kieran Read as All Blacks captain but his decision to skip Super Rugby to play in Japan is a complicating factor in his appointment.

Sam Whitelock is the obvious choice to lead the All Blacks into the next era, although his decision to relinquish the Crusaders captaincy and miss the entire Super Rugby season to play in Japan is unlikely to sit well with everyone.

Neither should it. And this could be problematic for Foster.

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Supporters of lock Whitelock will say he has earned the right to be granted a sabbatical by NZ Rugby and feather his financial nest, noting he has accumulated 117 test caps since 2010, captained the team on six occasions and will, in any case, return to the Crusaders for the next three seasons.

Brodie Retallick Sam Whitelock has led the Crusaders to three consecutive Super Rugby titles but won't play for the team in 2020.

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Sam Whitelock has led the Crusaders to three consecutive Super Rugby titles but won’t play for the team in 2020.

That’s one way of looking at it.

But you can also view this from another angle. When Whitelock, 31, agreed terms with the Panasonic club he knew Read wasn’t going to

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