Rugby Championship

Cane to fill McCaw's shoes

2013-09-08 09:38
Richie McCaw (File)

Napier - Sam Cane's steep learning curve is set to continue as the New Zealand loose forward steps into the massive void left by injured captain Richie McCaw.

Flank McCaw was ruled out for up to five weeks with a knee injury after prop Charlie Faumuina landed on his left leg during a tackle in Saturday's 28-13 victory over Argentina.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was hopeful his Rugby World Cup-winning skipper might recover in time for the team's October 5 clash against South Africa in the final round of the Rugby Championship, but McCaw is likely to miss the rest of the southern hemisphere tournament.

Matt Todd, who made his Test debut in June against France, will join the squad as cover, but Hansen said he had faith in 21-year-old Cane to step up for the All Blacks' blockbuster home clash against South Africa on Saturday.

"He's ready for it, he's played some good rugby for us," Hansen told local reporters of Cane, who was anointed McCaw's successor to the No 7 jersey last year.

"He hasn't played a poor Test, I don't think, and he's played some very good ones.

"He's comfortable and that's important," Hansen said in Hamilton on Sunday.

"A lot of players in years gone by have been, I wouldn't say frightened, but certainly burdened by the expectation that comes with being an All Black.

"Sam's had a pretty good apprenticeship so he's ready to rumble."

Cane started all three Tests against France in June, however, McCaw's return to the starting side following a long sabbatical left the Chiefs loose forward making cameo appearances off the bench in the Rugby Championship.

Following two emphatic opening wins over Australia and a third against Argentina, the champion All Blacks are likely to face a stiffer challenge from the undefeated Springboks.

The South African forwards hammered the Wallabies in their 38-12 victory in Brisbane on Saturday, taking a very simple bludgeoning approach to their work.

Time and time again, the Wallabies were driven backwards in the scrum, tackle and at the breakdown with the loose forward trio of Francois Louw, Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen, suffocating any Australian momentum.

Openside Cane is likely to combine with stand-in captain Kieran Read and rookie blindside flank Steven Luatua for the mouthwatering back-row clash, though Hansen said last year's starting blindside flank Liam Messam would be in the selection mix after his recovery from a hamstring strain.

The Springboks lead the four-nation tournament on 14 points courtesy of two bonus points for scoring four or more tries twice.

The second-placed All Blacks are on 13 points and the winner of the game at Eden Park will go a long way to securing the title.

Hansen was well aware their performance against the Pumas in Hamilton was less than ideal and had been frustrated at his players' reluctance to kick into open field and put pressure back on the South Americans with a good chasing game.

Hansen's desire to play the game at pace and with width, however, will continue next week.

"They've kept their physicality but they've sped up their game, they're using their backs a lot more and this will be the first time they've had so many bonus points in this competition," he said of the Springboks.

"That's a reflection on how they're using the ball so they're going to be really, really tough."


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Did the Springboks' performance against the All Blacks in Wellington change your belief in who will win the Rugby World Cup?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.