NZ Rugby World



DEBUT: Wednesday, 4 July 1984 v Queensland B at Brisbane aged 24 years, 202 days

LAST TEST: Sunday, 27 October 1991 v Australia at Dublin aged 31 years, 316 days

FUN FACT Alan and his brother Gary are the only twins to have played a test for the All Blacks.

Scotland prop David Sole was asked, after they were thrashed 30-3 by the All Blacks in the 1987 World Cup quarter final, why they didn’t try any blindside moves from the scrum. “There was no point,” he replied, “with AJ Whetton at blindside for the All Blacks.” There can be, surely, no better endorsemen­t of your defensive prowess though Whetton was probably better known for his speed, work rate and support play. He lived in the shadow of fellow loose forwards Michael Jones and Wayne Shelford (and after Shelford, Zinzan Brooke) for much of his test career but Whetton was still a formidable player

who was the first choice blindside from the ‘87 World Cup through to the 1991 tournament. Whetton scored a try in each of his five games at the 1987 tournament and had a somewhat unusual pre-match routine. “I’d go to each corner and imagine myself dotting down. I’d pat the grass and think, ‘That could be AJ’s spot – if I was lucky enough to keep up with JK or get rid of that monstrous winger Sean Fitzpatric­k!” Interestin­gly, arch All Blacks critic Stephen Jones last year rated Whetton the best blindside flanker in world rugby, with Kaino ranked third and Kirkpatric­k fourth.

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