Whitelock takes Covid disruptions in his stride

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Head coach Ian Foster and assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod, along with midfield backs David Havili and Jack Goodhue, are isolating at home as the rest of the squad prepare for the opening Steinlager Series Test against Ireland at Eden Park on Saturday.


Applying his experience, Whitelock said it was better that upsets in the camp happen early in the preparation week rather than later.


"It makes us take the lead, which we normally want to do but, if anything, it means we've got to do it a day earlier than we normally would," he said.


The side's leadership group had been together for a few campaigns and knew each other, so there would not be too much different. Most of the players had upsets to their routines during DHL Super Rugby Pacific, so disruptions were not something new.


Handling the situation was different compared to two years ago, but that was due to the coaching staff putting some 'what-if' plans in place.


"It's maybe, everyone taking a step up in the right areas," he said.

"We all lead in different ways…so we've got to carry on doing that, but make sure we're right across the board because we don't have our normal coaches there watching and helping out."


Being something out of the ordinary in terms of challenges he has faced, he said it was something he was looking forward to.


"It's different, but how awesome we get to have a week in here that's so different," he said.


Whitelock was confident the broken thumb that almost upset his availability for the Super Rugby Pacific finals for the Crusaders would provide no problems for him.


"I managed to get through the final. It was a bit touch and go for the semis. The surgeon's recommendation was I probably would have had to have surgery if I'd played that week [semis]. I trusted the boys, then got out there in the final, got through and had an X-ray after," he said.


During last week's camp in the Bay of Islands he took a sensible approach and manipulated his training.


"It should be fine to get out there and play," he said.


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