Whitelock engaged both on and off field

MATT MARKHAM
Last updated 12:43 01/03/2013

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A refreshed, recharged and engaged George Whitelock is looking forward to Super Rugby 2013.

The Crusaders flanker and Canterbury provincial captain returns with wedding bells in the offing after asking longtime partner and Black Sticks women's co-captain Kayla Sharland to marry him.

He proposed on the esplanade in Palmerston North last month.

One who generally likes to dwell only on rugby in interviews, Whitelock is focused on his role for the Crusaders as part of the new leadership group to support new captain Keiran Read.

After an intensive 2012 for both the Crusaders and the Canterbury side which he led to a fifth consecutive national title, Whitelock said during the week a two-month block without rugby had left him feeling refreshed and champing at the bit to get back into things tonight against the Blues.

"I was part of the lucky group who got to pick things back up after Christmas," Whitelock said.

"So I have had a really good break, nearly two months when you look at it, which is plenty of time to get fit and recharge.

"The preseason has been really good, too. Obviously we had the extra week with bye first-up which made it a wee bit longer, but we've worked hard and it's exciting to be at the start of the competition this week."

Whitelock kicks off the season in his normal No 6 position, a spot which looks his to own this season although younger brother Luke may add some pressure at stages during the competition.

He is in the minority in the forward pack tonight of those who aren't current All Blacks, along with Matt Todd and Corey Flynn.

"You look at our lineup across the park, it's pretty experienced and exciting.

"But at the end of the day you still need to go out and do the job and do it well.

"We have a few guys in the side this year who haven't experienced Super Rugby before and they are young and have that spring in their step and that's what you want to keep things ticking over nicely."

With another year in his contract after this season, Whitelock said there was no desire to look overseas.

"I'm really enjoying my rugby here at the moment, and can't really see that changing, so overseas isn't an option for me at the moment.

"I just want to focus on doing my job for the Crusaders and making sure I continue to enjoy my rugby."

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