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Sam Whitelock taking 'week by week' approach towards 2023 World Cup

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock is setting his sights firmly on the next Rugby World Cup, eager to play on until France 2023.

Joe Moody, Sam Whitelock and captain Kieran Read. Source: Photosport

Back in New Zealand with the Crusaders after Covid-19 shut down his Japanese sabatical with Panasonic Wild Knights, Whitelock has played every single minute of the new Super Rugby Aotearoa campagin.

Despite his 117 Test caps, Whitelock is still relatively young at 31-years-old, and has already played in three Rugby World Cups. Two of those resulted in New Zealand lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy (2011 and 2015), with last year seeing a semi-final exit in Japan.

Speaking to Stuff though, Whitelock concedes that the next World Cup is still a way away, content with doing what he can with the Crusaders and All Blacks for the time being.

''2023 is definitely a goal there, but we're just trying to enjoy our rugby, rather than looking at something so far away,'' Whitelock said.

''We've just got to approach it week by week, campaign by campaign.

"It's a little bit different at the moment with all the Coronavirus stuff, the horizon is a little bit uncertain.''

Going to France in 2023 would mean that Whitelock draws level with Richie McCaw and Keven Mealamu as an All Black playing four consecutive World Cups.