The latest Junior U20s World Championship held in Italy saw another title going to the ‘Baby Black’ U20 New Zealand side. This record breaking youth team from New Zealand has won the competition a staggering amount of times confirming the already universally acknowledged opinion that the All Blacks are indeed the best team in the world.
However, this campaign held its own little story. Currently the Canterbury Crusaders employ all of the four Whitelock brothers of who all are certainly international standard. The Junior World Championship has only been going on for the last few years, therefore the two oldest brothers George, and Adam did not have the chance for glory in the Baby Blacks shirt. However the third youngest brother, now with 13 caps for the All Blacks, Sam, did have the chance to grasp the well heralded trophy having beaten the best junior sides in the world.
So following in his brother’s huge footsteps only a year ago Luke Whitelock, the youngest of four phenomena’s took up the gauntlet at the age of 18 in the world junior competition. Even after a summer off at Loughborough Grammar School as a gap year, such is the talent of the man; he walked straight back into the team and had immediate success helping New Zealand to their third consecutive trophy in Argentina.
However it was this season’s victory that would have been all the more satisfying for the young man from Canterbury. Having had excellent success and experience in the tournament the year before, Luke was made captain of the Baby Black U20 side. Maybe what would have made it even better when Whitelock raised the trophy aloft, other than the fact that he has bested his brothers in the junior department, was that New Zealand may not have been favourites in the competition for a change. A young England team with the brilliant talents of Ford, Farrell, Daley and Gray who met the New Zealander’s in the final were strong competitors who pushed the Baby Blacks all the way to the finish line.
Yet the brilliance of the Whitelock’s shone through yet again raising the trophy for the fourth time in four years… the silverware in young Luke’s hands mirroring the excellence of his brothers in the Super 15 competition and indeed potential victories for Sam Whitelock in the up and coming World Cup.