Caroline Whitelock, mum of All Blacks Sam and George, new All Black squad member Luke and Canterbury Crusader Adam, is also the daughter of 1950s All Black Nelson Dalzell. She and husband Braeden run a large dairy farm in Linton.

1. So what does a mum put in the pasta water to get four such supremely talented rugby players?

Actually the boys didn't have a lot of pasta when they were growing up. It was a roast, spuds, veges and fruit salad with icecream most nights. But I wormed them regularly. They were boys, you know, outside all the time, killing possums and that. I still worm them when they come home. They think it's a hell of a joke. Now I even worm their girlfriends. Oh, they would eat a lot. I'd have to do two roasts to feed them all. Mainly mutton it was. I remember going grocery shopping and I'd spend $70 to $90 just on fruit.

2. This is how your eldest, George, has described the family dynamic: "Sam was the girl. Mum used to joke that if any of us was going to be a girl, it'd be Sam. Luke was the baby and Adam was the naive one. I was the oldest and had to be responsible for everyone. If anything went wrong, I got the blame for it." Is he right?

In his view. I tried to treat them all equally and it always amazes me when people ask who is my favourite boy? How can they ask that? I love them all equally and can't imagine otherwise.


3. Did you recognise early that you had sportsmen on your hands?

Yes I did, especially when I chased them with the strap and couldn't catch them. Oh jeepers, you're probably not allowed to do that any more, are you. We had Charlie, the leather strap and the boys were very afraid of Charlie. There was more threatening going on than anything, slamming it on the table and that. He's still here actually.

4. What's the hardest part, in your opinion, of raising boys?

Keeping them busy, well fed and watered and not cooped up. We live in a rural community and have animals and nature so that helped. When they were little and at home I'd long for Braeden to come in because the boys would swoop on him and leave me to get the dinner ready. I think about people raising big families in towns and that must be very hard.

5. What does success mean to you?

Doing the job properly.

6. Do you worry about how the three Whitelock All Blacks will cope with media attention?

Not at all. They are humble boys and always have been. Even Sam after being an All Black for four years, people say he's still so level headed. I'm very proud of the fact that the boys are proud of us. They aren't embarrassed to give me a kiss on the cheek after the game. It's a bit sweaty and hairy but I take what I can get.

7. I've noticed that Sam always seems to wear striped underwear when he's playing for the All Blacks. What's that about?

You and a lot of others have noticed that. They're his lucky undies. He's got a long back and I think that's why you tend to see them a lot. All the boys went to boarding school (Feilding High School) and the laundry lady at the hostel told me she was watching Sam play one day and saw those and said to her friend, "I've washed those undies".

8. What's the biggest misconception about farmers' wives?

That we're "just farmers' wives". We're the unsung heroes of the farming industry. There are lots of women out there milking and calving and doing all sorts of things. I drive the tractor when we're cultivating and do all our GST and administration. It's a huge business. We've got eight fulltime staff and a fantastic manager. I worked on the farm with my Dad for 11 years in Culverden, North Canterbury. That's where Braeden and I met - he'd come down to work on a stud there and we met at the pub after netball and rugby practice.

9. Can you haka?

I'm all haka'd out because I've got a sore shoulder. We've always done hakas and scrums on the kitchen floor. The boys form up and say "come on mum" and in I go. We still do it when they come home. They get their whiskers and rub my cheeks with them and say "this is what we do when we're playing".

10. What are your best pre-game warm-up tips?

Pour a vodka. Go to the loo. Settle in and try to relax. We get so nervous. We sit there and look at each other and say gosh, we are actually meant to be enjoying this. But that's natural. Our biggest worry? That the boys get injured. I just want them to play and walk off the field. If they infringe, well you just pull the hat a little lower.

11. Will any girl be good enough for your boys?

I haven't got any complaints. George and [Black Sticks co-captain Kayla Sharland] are getting married. Three of them are living with their girlfriends. Luke isn't as yet. I tell him he's too young. I try not to interfere though. They've all got great girls from lovely families.

12. What's the biggest lesson learned from your parents, that you've tried to pass on to your children?

Old values. Saying please and thank you and having respect for your elders. Luke will still thank me for a meal. I tell him he doesn't have to say thank you any more but he says it just comes naturally.