All Black Whitelock out of Rugby Championship over quarantine issue

Wellington (AFP) –


All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock will miss the remainder of the Rugby Championship in Australia after being unable to secure suitable quarantine dates, New Zealand Rugby said Saturday.

Whitelock, along with Richie Mo'unga and Aaron Smith, stayed in New Zealand on paternity leave and did not travel to Australia last month with the rest of the All Blacks.

It was then decided to play the remainder of the four-nation tournament in Queensland because of Covid.

After becoming a father to a baby girl last week, Whitelock could not secure a quarantine berth in Australia before Tuesday.

"Samuel Whitelock is to stay in New Zealand and will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship," said New Zealand Rugby.

"The timing of arrival meant that Whitelock would have exited his two weeks' hard quarantine with not enough time for a tight forward to safely prepare to play against South Africa on October 2."

The All Blacks, who won their opening two matches against Australia, play Argentina in round three this weekend while the Wallabies play also unbeaten South Africa in Gold Coast double-header.

Test cap centurion Whitelock will rejoin the squad for their northern hemisphere tour which starts in late October.