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‘I've got lots to offer’: Sam Cane ‘driven’ to have All Blacks swansong

By Finn Morton
Sam Cane of the All Blacks leads the team out ahead of The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Marvel Stadium on September 15, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Retiring All Blacks captain Sam Cane believes he still has “lots to offer the team” before hanging up the boots as an international rugby player after signing a long-term deal in Japan.

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Cane, who led the All Blacks to the Rugby World Cup Final last October, revealed early last week that he’ll step away from Test rugby at the end of 2024 after signing with Tokyo Sungoliath.

The 32-year-old has been on an injury-plagued sabbatical with the Japanese club but has signed on for a further three years after being granted a release from his deal with New Zealand Rugby.

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While the outgoing New Zealand skipper has clarified that the defeat to South Africa in last year’s Final wasn’t a factor, Cane is still chasing history as he nears centurion status.

Cane, who has played 95 matches in the black jersey, will become the 13th man to reach the 100 Test mark with New Zealand should coach Scott Robertson select the backrower to play.

In an interview this week, the 2015 Rugby World Cup winner admitted he “would be lying” if he said that reaching 100 Tests wasn’t a motivation for why he decided to return for one last year.

“I’m pretty driven to have one last crack at the All Blacks, whatever capacity that may be,” Cane said on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown.

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“This could be my 12th year. I know there are never any guarantees with the All Blacks, that you’ve got to earn your spot and prove it and that won’t change. It’s probably even more reinforced with some new selectors in place.

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“I’m confident I’ve got lots to offer the team still. Hopefully, I can manage to get a few more (Tests) in.

“The first half of my career, those Test matches just kept racking up, and the second half… mainly through injuries, they didn’t come as quickly and easily.

“It makes you appreciate it a bit more when you’ve had to go through sometimes hardship to get to the next one.”

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Cane became the first man in Rugby World Cup Final history to be shown a red card as the All Black fell to back-to-back champions the Springboks 12-11 at Stade de France.

The openside flanker was initially shown a yellow card under review before referee Wayne Barnes and the TMO agreed to upgrade the incident to a red which saw the Kiwis go down to 14.

In an emotional press conference about 30 minutes after the defeat, Cane said that was an incident he’ll “have to live with forever.” For a moment, nobody knew what to say.

But seven months have passed and the All Blacks are preparing for their new era under Scott Robertson. Whether or not Cane is selected to play under ‘Razor’ remains to be seen.

But while the rugby world will forever remember the Springbok’s famous one-point win, Cane has insisted it didn’t play a part in his decision to step away from the international level.

“No doubt last year took a lot out of me, emotionally and mentally probably,” Cane told The Rock Morning Rumble radio show last week.

“This break over here – although the last couple of months I’ve been rehabbing – they’ve been good, and I’m hugely motivated to come back and still be available for selection.

“Even though it’s my last year, I feel like I’ve still got a lot to offer the group, particularly knowing so many senior All Blacks have moved on.

“I’ve got a bit to add there, not just off the field but hopefully on it.”

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Comments

2 Comments
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Liam 33 days ago

Honestly, Super final then world cup final both with a red card exit tanking each respective campaign….. really hard to say there aren't younger players who deserve opportunities after he has had hundreds of first class and test opportunities and those are the end results in the championship minutes

T
Tristan 34 days ago

If he's playing well enough to be in the top 2 or 3 open sides, then pick him. Essentially nothing else should come into it.

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Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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