'I can still have a big impact' - Sam Whitelock relishing All Blacks leadership role, despite not being captain

Even though he won't be the captain, Sam Whitelock is still looking to make the most of his status as one of the All Blacks' leaders.

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Whitelock was overlooked in favour of Sam Cane to lead the All Blacks. Source: 1 NEWS

Whitelock, 31, missed out on succeeding long time teammate Kieran Read as the All Blacks' captain after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan after coach Ian Foster handed the title to Sam Cane.

Despite the disappointment though, Whitelock says that he's 100 per cent committed to playing under Cane's leadership, and will look to aid the new skipper wherever possible.

What's more, with a number of senior players having also said goodbye to New Zealand after last year's World Cup, Whitelock is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his seniors in welcoming the next generation into the All Blacks' ranks.

"I can still have a big impact whether I'm captain or not," Whitelock told media via Zoom.

"For me, being one of the older members of the New Zealand rugby community. I've got to make sure I can pass on a lot of the knowledge that a lot of the older guys did for me.

"I had some amazing people pass on what they knew, Brad Thorn, Keven Mealamu, there's a big long list there. Hopefully I can offload, and make the transition for some players easier and hopefully quicker, and hopefully we don't have a drop off with the All Blacks."