Cane out to play own game againt Boks

The comparisons are inevitable, but All Blacks loose forward Sam Cane will concentrate on playing his own game against South Africa in Auckland on Saturday.


The openside flanker has been called into the starting XV for the Rugby Championship clash as replacement for injured skipper Richie McCaw.

It will be the 21-year-old’s 10th cap, whereas McCaw was earning his 119th when he limped off with ligament damage in his left knee against Argentina last weekend.

“He’s the best in the world and he’s been the best for a long time,” Cane said of McCaw.

“It’s a big challenge, but it’s important I don’t go out there and try to play Richie’s game. I’ll just try and play my own game and be myself.”

Cane draws confidence from his heavy involvement in the All Blacks’ 3-0 sweep of France in June.

With McCaw away on a six-month break from rugby, Cane was on the field for all but the last eight minutes of the series.

“It’s a big help just knowing you can play at that level and you can play for 80,” he said.

“When the going gets tough, you just dig in.”

Cane’s inclusion is one of two changes to the All Blacks’ starting loose trio, with Chiefs teammate Liam Messam back from injury.

The pair join No.8 Kieran Read, who takes over from McCaw as captain.

Coach Steve Hansen has full confidence that Cane is ready for the job.

“He’s a good athlete and mentally he’s able to put things into perspective,” he said.

“It’s not easy coming in and following a guy like McCaw because you’re compared with him all the time.

Hansen echoed Cane’s view about doing things his way, but also said the loose forwards needed a platform from the front five.