The four Whitelock brothers played plenty of rugby on the family farm so it was appropriate the setting for their first game together since 2003 was a farm in the annual Super Rugby pre-season game at Mangatainoka.
The siblings helped the Crusaders beat the Hurricanes 19-8 in front of 8000 Hurricanes fans on a paddock converted into a rugby pitch. Sam, George, Luke and Adam grew up on a dairy farm about 30 minutes from Mangatainoka and attended Feilding Area High School.
"It was good to come back and get a bit of stick from the crowd and from friends and family," Sam said.
"It was cool to be out there with all of them (brothers). The game was going pretty quickly so I didn't really have a lot of time to look around see what they were doing but it was cool to have them out there as well."
The Crusaders deserved their win on the back of dominance in the set-pieces and scored tries to lock Ross Kennedy, wing Patrick Osbourne and replacement first five-eighths Tyler Bleyendaal. They led 12-3 at the break and maintained control even as both coaches rung the changes.
Young Hurricanes pivot Beauden Barrett scored all of the Hurricanes' points with an early penalty and late try but the Hurricanes made too many errors to build any pressure.
"We probably turned down 10 shots at goal and we did it for a reason," said Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett who was unconcerned about the scoreline. "We wanted to check out our lineout against what was effectively an All Black pack so we had some challenges around that but we also did some really good things as well. So in terms of where we were last week to where we were this week, we are tracking in the right direction."
The Blues beat the Hurricanes 36-28 in Whangarei last weekend while the Crusaders thumped the Highlanders 47-19 in Greymouth.
Crusaders 19 (Ross Kennedy, Patrick Osborne, Tyler Bleyendaal tries; Tom Taylor con, Bleyendaal con). HT: 3-12. Hurricanes 8 (Beauden Barrett try; Barrett pen)