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Sam Cane breaks neck

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Sam Cane has broken his neck

All Black backrow Sam Cane has broken his neck.

Scott Barrett and Ardie Savea scored late tries as Rugby Championship winners New Zealand gained sweet revenge over South Africa by pulling off a rousing fightback to snatch a 32-30 victory in Pretoria.

The world champions had been outplayed for much of an absorbing contest, but they left South Africa breathless at altitude when Rieko Ioane’s score was followed by Scott Barrett going over four minutes from time and Savea driving over in the final minute, Richie Mo’unga duly landing his third conversion to win the match.

However the win did not come without a significant cost, namely to Cane. Cane came off on the 35th minute and was replaced by Ardie Savea, and the injury now appears to have been extremely serious in nature.

Amazingly, the 59 times capped All Black loose forward walked off the pitch.

The All Blacks tweeted today that: “All Blacks loose forward Sam Cane is to have surgery in Johannesburg today after suffering a fracture in his neck in last night’s Test against South Africa. Expected to make a full recovery.

“All Blacks Doctor Tony Page said Cane had suffered a fracture in a vertebrae but thankfully had not suffered any nerve damage.

“Cane will stay in South Africa for the week before flying home. Will be out of rugby for several months.”

It is a major blow to the New Zeland’s Autumn Tests, having already lost backrow Liam Squire earlier in the Rugby Championship with a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, reflecting on the match, Kieran Read said it was “an awesome feeling” to win a final-round match where only pride was at stake as New Zealand had clinched first place with a win in Argentina last weekend.

“I feel pretty good. To win a game like that, it obviously feels fantastic. Those are the type of games where you feel all through it you are not going to win.

“So there has to be a belief in there somewhere deep inside you to keep going.

“I think we showed that. And then to come out on the right side of it, it is an awesome feeling.

“There was always plenty of time on the clock, even though we were down by 17 points, there was always time on the clock for us to get back into the game.

“When 12 points down with 10 minutes, I thought we were right into it and finding some momentum. We finally looked after the ball a little better and got into their half.”

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Sam Cane has broken his neck