All Blacks captain Sam Cane has admitted he was “a wee bit” surprised by the backlash he received after comments he made about fans following the side’s loss to Argentina a fortnight ago.
Plenty was made of Cane saying some fans were “brutal” and “might like to think they know a lot about the game of rugby but really they don’t” in an interview with Sky Sport‘s The Breakdown; with fans and media pouncing on the comments made.
Speaking on Friday morning ahead of the All Blacks’ rematch against the Pumas on Saturday, Cane said that sort of response is a risk of his approach to interviews.
“I’ve always spoken my mind and been reasonably honest, I hope most people will appreciate that,” Cane said. “It’d be easier to just do these interviews and play a pretty straight bat opposed to generic answers, but I suppose every now and then being honest may create some headlines.
“I was pretty happy with the whole interview as itself. If the whole interview is viewed it probably puts it into context.”
He wasn’t the only member of the All Blacks to address the backlash, with Ian Foster sharing his thoughts with Newstalk ZB‘s Martin Devlin last weekend.
Foster said he might not have agreed with the comments, he’s happy for his captain to share his thoughts.
“When it comes to him expressing himself, I would like to think the New Zealand public know that their captain is going to say what he thinks. That’s what he does,” Foster said.
“Do I agree with what he said? Not really, and I know – talking to Sam he knows it too – that our fans are lovely.”
After back-to-back losses against Australia and Argentina in their most recent tests, Cane has found himself taking on some of the heat from fans and pundits as the captain of the team.
That’s not to say that the All Blacks can’t still be a quality, winning team, but unless they can address some increasingly problematic flaws, then the golden era is all but in the books. #ARGvNZL #AllBlacks https://t.co/1q2quKxxUt
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 27, 2020
However, he said recent results hadn’t amped up the pressure, as it simply came with the job of being an All Black.
“You always feel the pressure. There’s pressure to perform as an individual, now as captain, you feel the pressure of the team’s performance. But it would be weird if there wasn’t any pressure because it’s always been like that,” Cane said.
“My head’s in a pretty good place; I’m similar to the team, we’re very focused on what we can control and trying to get a good performance, blocking out any outside noise and just worrying about what’s important.”
The side has been hard at work to address some issues over the past couple of weeks following their loss to the Pumas, and coach Ian Foster has named a fairly similar side for this weekend’s game with just three changes to the starting XV – all in the pack.
Cane said it was a nice show of faith from the selectors, and gave the players an opportunity many of them were hungry to get.
“Everyone in the squad’s hurting. To get the opportunity to try right some wrongs and put some pride back in the All Blacks jersey is good for us.
“We’re coming up against one of the most passionate sides in world rugby on their day, so (we need) a wee bit more passion, but also just being physical and clinical and smart. That’s All Blacks rugby at its best so hopefully we can put that out there.”
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