Proud dad Whitelock gears up for lengthy All Blacks tour
MELBOURNE, Sept. 9 (Reuters) – Sam Whitelock had a special time with his wife Hannah and newborn daughter Penelope at the hospital and now prepares to spend the next few months away from them as he joins the All Blacks for a long tour.
Whitelock missed Sunday’s 38-21 win over Australia in Perth with teammates Richie Mo’unga and Aaron Smith as the trio stayed home to await the birth of their children.
Whitelock will leave for Australia this weekend to join the squad for the Rugby Championship in Queensland and the following Northern Hemisphere tour.
The 32-year-old father-of-three will have 14 days in hotel quarantine in Australia and the same in New Zealand upon his return home, under the country’s strict COVID-19 rules.
All in all, he is unlikely to detain his baby girl until December.
“It’s going to be quite difficult what it feels like for me to leave the family but also for these two weeks where I have to train in a small hotel room,” the centurion tester told New Zealand media.
“If you look at the history of the All Blacks and the absent sportsmen, some people got on a boat and when they got home they were given a six month old child and they were told ‘this is your daughter or your son “.
“Times have changed a bit, but it’s kind of like that … I didn’t make the decision to go lightly, but at the same time, I have to do my job.”
Whitelock will miss both rugby championship tests against quarantined Argentina and the first against South Africa.
He’s aiming for the last Springboks clash on October 2 on the Gold Coast.
“Each test is so special that you never want to take one for granted,” he said.
“If there’s an opportunity to get on a plane and play, I’m going to do it.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford
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