Cape Town - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has revealed that Sam Cane will
captain the side in their Rugby Championship opener with Argentina on
The world champions’ regular skipper, Kieran Read, and their
vice-captain, Sam Whitelock, are among eight members of the Crusaders
team who will not be travelling to Buenos Aires after their recent
triumph over the Jaguares in the Super Rugby final.
Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Matt Todd, Richie Mo’unga and
Jack Goodhue are the other six Crusaders players in the All Blacks’
squad who will not be involved in the Argentina Test. They are being
rested for the Pumas match but will be considered for selection for the
Test against South Africa in Wellington on July 27.
Hansen confirmed, however, that Crusaders newcomers Sevu Reece and
Braydon Ennor and one-Test wing George Bridge would be in the side to
travel to Argentina while Highlanders back-rower Shannon Frizell would not
be going as he suffered a cut that was right on a joint and prevented
him from training.
“We want him to go back and train and if he flies he loses four days
of his training time,” he told the All Blacks’ official website.
Veteran inside centre Sonny Bill Williams had come through the week’s
training and was a possible contender for a place next weekend in
“He is a shot to play but we’re not going to risk him,” said Hansen.
“As much as we want him to play and he needs game time, if he’s not
100 percent, there’s not point putting him out there and him reinjuring
it. We’ll make that decision next week. He’s training really well,
making very good progress.”
If he didn’t make the team to play Argentina, Hansen was sure he would be available to play in Wellington.
Hansen said there would be two challenges, external and internal, facing the All Blacks in Buenos Aires.
“The external challenge is an Argentina team that has a lot of unity and has had a lot of time together,” he said.
“They’re a big pack, they’ve got a lot of confidence, and they’ve
just had a little bit of adversity so will be somewhat more determined.
It would be a great way to get rid of the pain of losing the final if
they beat us.
“The internal challenge is moulding the team quickly into our
patterns, our way of playing and getting connected in really tight.
We’ll have to work hard at that.”