6 May 2020

Easy decision for Cane to accept All Blacks captaincy

5:07 pm on 6 May 2020

Sam Cane admits he was suprised when he was told he'd be the next All Blacks captain.

The Chiefs flanker was give the job despite a lack of international rugby on the horizon.

All Black Sam Cane.

Sam Cane Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It was 8 years ago that Cane made his debut for the All Blacks as a 19 year old, but he'd tasted higher level rugby at the age of 16 when he spent a week training with the Chiefs.

He'd always been ear-marked for bigger and better things.

The 28 year old has played 68 tests for the All Blacks, three of those as captain.

Cane has known for a couple of months that he was to take over from Kieran Read and has had to keep it quiet apart from telling his partner and his parents.

He admits he wasn't expecting it when All Blacks coach Ian Foster turned up at his house in February, for what he thought was just a catchup.

"To be honest it took me by shock a little bit, just a big flood of different emotions and then left the house not long after, this will all pre-covid to clear that up, and Harriett (partner) was out in the garden and talked to her straight away and I knew pretty quickly it was what I wanted to do."

Many pundits had predicted Kieran Read's right hand man Sam Whitelock to take over captaincy role.

He also has captained the side, including at last year's World Cup, but has been looking at taking a sabbatical.

Foster says the Crusaders lock was also an obvious option.

"I thought Sammy Whitelock proved that he could be a great All Black captain and so that wasn't really up for debate, it was more looking at the different styles and looking at the group that we think we might have when we actually put names down on paper and we just felt that Sam's style might be a little bit more conducive to this particular group."

All Blacks Sam Cane and Sam Whitelock.

Sam Cane and Sam Whitelock Photo: PHOTOSPORT

When Cane might lead the side out on the field is the big unknown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Foster is encouraged that some form of Super Rugby may not be too far away, while the All Blacks may be limited to a Bledisloe Cup at the end of the year.

The government will announce what can happen under alert level 2 on Thursday which may mean a resumption of training for Super Rugby teams.

Foster says New Zealand Rugby will be ready to go when they get the green light.

"We're doing a lot of planning behind the scenes for every scenario but once the government announce something I'm pretty sure that we'll be ready to say pretty quickly what we're going to be doing."

Cane says it won't take long for the players to get back to full fitness.

He says the All Blacks are desperate to get back on the field and put behind them what was a disappointing World Cup last year.

"We're obviously massively disappointed and I suppose our pride and mana took a bit of a dent, not just in the loss but in the way that it came about, so look if we were able to get back on the park a lot of those guys who were involved in that campaign would definitely be carrying a bit of hurt deep down and would be very driven to get back on the field and get us back to number one.

"So we might have to wait but I'm pretty sure that hunger and desire won't be settling down."

Cane is expected to play most all the All Blacks games, as is fellow loose forward Ardie Savea, meaning the latter might be moved to number eight, with the likes of Scott Barrett or Luke Jacobson the likely blindside contenders, with their extra height considered a necessity for the modern day lineout.

However it might be some time before those selections are made, with international rugby still months away at best.