Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper is hoping All Blacks flanker Sam Cane will be given the green light to start playing again by the end of May as he recovers from the broken neck he suffered against South Africa.
That would still give Cane time to make the All Blacks squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan but Cooper insisted the defending champion’s leading open side would not be rushed back and his return will depend on specialist medical advice.
Cane was left in a neck brace a long period after a collision with Springboks loose forward Francois Louw in the 35th minute of the All Blacks victory at Loftus Versfeld in October last year. In an interview with Radio Sport’s D’Arcy Waldegrave, Cooper said he hoped for good news to come back from Cane’s meeting with a specialist later this year.
“He goes back to a specialist early April and hopefully they give him the green flag end of April or May,” said Cooper who will have Brodie Retallick as the team’s on-field leader for the Chiefs Super Rugby campaign with Cane being involved off the pitch.
“We’ve kept with him (Cane) the whole time. He’s a great leader and so he will captain the Chiefs for 2019 and co-captain with Brodie Retallick. So while Sam is not playing he’ll be doing a lot of the captaincy off the field and Brodie will be leading the team on the field.”
Cane admits the injury has forced him to look at his life and recognise what is important going forward and he told journalists: “It probably put rugby in perspective within half a day for me. People were saying ‘will you be right for the World Cup?’ I was just like, honestly, that’s the furthest thing from my mind at the moment.”
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