All Blacks legend Top 14 debut ruined by Los Pumas star’s boot

All Blacks great Sam Whitelock’s long-awaited debut for Pau ended in a loss as his new side went down to a 34-13 negative to Oyonnax at the Stade Charles-Mathon.


Before Racing 92’s visit to Bayonne on Saturday, a victory would have seen Pau rise to the top of the Top 14 rankings; however, the visitors were ultimately soundly defeated.

After missing out on playing against Clermont last week due to a concussion, Whitelock’s club debut was postponed. He began this Round 11 match in the second row.

51 minutes of playback

The all-time most capped player for New Zealand played 51 minutes for his new French employer, having left the Crusaders, the all-time Super Rugby powerhouse.

Alongside brother and flanker Luke Whitelock, he got the game off. In the second half, he hooked up with former Wasps scrum-half Dan Robson and former Exeter fly-half Joe Simmonds.

Simmonds kicked eight points which included the conversion to Pau‘s only try of the evening, which came from Georgian number eight Beka Gorgadze after 31 minutes.

Oyonnax’s tries were scored by Darren Sweetnam, Jonathan Ruru and Daniel Ikpefan, with Argentina fly-half Domingo Miotti starring with 19 points off the tee for his team.

The unexpected win lifts Oyonnax up to 10th in the Top 14 table, while Pau drops to third but might fall even further if results go against them over the weekend.

Waiting for Whitelock

Whitelock, 35, would be thrilled to have made his debut after joining Pau following the 2023 Rugby World Cup, as he helped New Zealand reach yet another final.

Whitelock has had a historic year, breaking Richie McCaw’s All Blacks appearance record and becoming the first player to play 150 Tests for New Zealand.

He also led the All Blacks to 125 victories, a record only McCaw (131) has surpassed, and became the first player to appear in three World Cup finals, winning two of them in 2011 and 2015.

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