Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

All Blacks captain Sam Cane set for short stint abroad – report

By Finn Morton
Captain Sam Cane of New Zealand leads his team out for The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and South Africa Springboks at Mt Smart Stadium on July 15, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

All Blacks captain Sam Cane is expected to miss the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific campaign with the Chiefs after taking up a sabbatical in Japan, according to a report out of New Zealand.


Stuff has revealed that Cane, who captained the All Blacks in last weekend’s Rugby World Cup final at Stade de France, is set for a short stint abroad after inking a deal with Tokyo Sungoliath.

Cane could potentially pack down in a backrow alongside former Wallabies enforcer Sean McMahon, and join Wales’ Gareth Anscombe and two-time World Cup-winning Springbok Cheslin Kolbe in the team.


Video Spacer

Rugbypass TV

Watch rugby on demand, from exclusive shows and documentaries to extended highlights from RWC 2023. Anywhere. Anytime. All for free!

Join us

Video Spacer

Rugbypass TV

Watch rugby on demand, from exclusive shows and documentaries to extended highlights from RWC 2023. Anywhere. Anytime. All for free!

Join us

In a boost to the All Blacks as they prepare to embark on their new era under coach Scott Robertson, Cane will be available for selection ahead of the July internationals.

When captain Cane re-signed with New Zealand Rugby in December 2021, there was a clause in his contract that allowed the openside flanker to exercise a sabbatical after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“The amount of rugby I’ve played the last three years, between two injuries and the Covid year, I’m feeling pretty good,” Cane said, as reported by Stuff’s Marc Hinton at the time.

“At this stage I’d be learning to not using it or just going back late to Super Rugby, but won’t make that decision tilly early ’23.”


This news makes the re-signing announcement of loose forward Luke Jacobson that much more important for the Chiefs.


New Zealand
South Africa
11 - 12
New Zealand
6 - 44
South Africa
15 - 16
17 - 29
New Zealand
24 - 28
30 - 24
South Africa
28 - 29

Harbouring genuine title ambitions after losing last year’s final to the Crusaders at home, the Chiefs’ backrow stocks have already taken a hit. Former All Black Pita Gus Sowakula signed a two-year deal with Clermont.

In the absence of Cane and Sowakula, Jacobson will become the most important backrower at the Chiefs. Jacobson was selected in the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup squad after starting 13 Super Rugby Pacific games for the Chiefs last season.

“I’m stoked to sign on with the Chiefs, Waikato Rugby, and NZR for another two years,” Jacobson said in a statement.


“I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All Black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”


Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


Tahi 230 days ago

The curious thing about Cane is that he was never a good enough player to hold down the 7 jersey in black. But with Foster nailing his colours to the mast, and appointing Cane as skipper, he was then an automatic selection. That positionally unbalanced the team. Under Razor there are no such guarantees and the likelihood is Cane may not make the squad. We need a dedicated 7 with ball winning skills as well as defensive skills. Cane has never been a turnover specialist so sayonara Sam. Enjoy Japan.

Jon 230 days ago

That’s really unfortunate. Only way I could have seen Cane coming back in was a redemption story with the Chiefs next year, and I really wanted him back in black. Wish he had of taken it next year, would have been better for him too I believe but accept it has been a tough situation.

I can imagine Razor has given him the nod, but myself, I can’t seem him back given the next crop a sniff like that. Jacobson is one of many 7’s in NZ I can see taking this chance to make that jersey their own. Do like the idea of now giving Vaa’i a full year at blindside though.

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Flankly 10 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

27 Go to comments
FEATURE Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it