Rugby: All Blacks great Sam Whitelock to reportedly join French side Pau after World Cup

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock will reportedly leave New Zealand at the end of 2023 to join Top 14 outfit Pau, according to French media.

In a report from Rugby Rama, 34-year-old Whitelock is on the verge of linking up with Pau after this year's World Cup in France, in a move that would bring his time in Aotearoa to a close.

Whitelock's move to Pau wouldn't be without precedent, with his younger brother Luke having played for the French side since leaving New Zealand after 2019.

Fellow former All Blacks Conrad Smith, Ben Smith, Colin Slade and Carl Hayman are also among Pau's notable Kiwi alumni.

Since his test debut in 2010, Whitelock has won 143 caps for the All Blacks and is just five games away from equalling Richie McCaw's record of 148 - a feat well within his sights heading to this year's World Cup.

Whitelock was part of the All Blacks side to claim the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and 2015, as well as finishing third at the 2019 tournament.

The lock has remained a key player for coach Ian Foster since 2020 and captained the side in recent years as regular skipper Sam Cane battled with injuries.

At Super Rugby level, Whitelock has been part of the all-conquering Crusaders side that has won six titles in six years under Scott Robertson, while Saturday's defeat to the Chiefs saw him bring up 350 first class matches.