Newly appointed All Blacks captain Sam Cane is hoping for a return to Test rugby later this year. 

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The 28-year-old was named the successor to Kieran Read last week by head coach Ian Foster, but it could be an unusually long time before he gets to lead his team out due to the suspension of rugby because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Chiefs flanker took to Instagram on Monday for the first time since the announcement to respond to the support he has received.

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He said: “I feel hugely honored to be asked to captain the All Blacks. I would like to say thank you for all the messages of support, I’ve been truly blown away!”

Cane finished the message by saying he was hoping for some Test matches later this year, although nothing is a certainty.  

“I am looking forward to hitting level 2 this Thursday, seeing the country get back up and running, getting back to Super Rugby and hopefully some Test matches later in the year,” he added.

While rugby is set to resume domestically in New Zealand in June with Super Rugby Aotearoa, there is no clear sign as to when international rugby will restart, and there has even been talk of nothing being played until 2021. 

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The idea of resuming rugby between New Zealand and Australia has been flirted with over the past weeks, as neither country has been affected by coronavirus in the same way some of their rugby rivals elsewhere in the world have been.

While fans are still waiting for these discussions to come to fruition, Foster was optimistic about the Bledisloe Cup series being contested this year. 

If no international rugby is to be played in 2020, and the calendar resumes as usual in 2020, it will be over a year before Cane gets to skipper his country, which is a long time in anticipation.

But for a player that broke his neck in 2018 and returned seven months later, he has already had a career that is out of the ordinary. 

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