Sam Cane has put everything into his first season of All Blacks captaincy, often coming off looking battered and bruised following his warriors efforts in the first four Bledisloe Cup tests.
More impressive has been the honourable way he was dealt with win, loss or draw has impressed fans with some even calling for the standing US President to learn from the All Black captain.
Sam Cane, so magnanimous in defeat. A certain US President could learn so much from those few minutes!! #AUSvNZL
— Matthew Cleeve (@matthewcleeve) November 7, 2020
His latest moment of sportsmanship is going viral after a post-match exchange between Wallaby centurian James Slipper was captured despite a confrontation in the match.
Earlier in the match, Cane took an issue with the way the prop had cleaned him out in the first half, getting up to pin the Wallaby on his back and sparking a push and shove between the two sides and words between the two. After a review by the TMO, both players were cleared of any infringement.
Following the game, it was all respect as Cane offered Slipper a bottle of red wine to celebrate his achievement of reaching 100 test caps. The moment was met with adulation by fans online, with Cane showing why he was voted the most respected player earlier in the year by his fellow players in a New Zealand player poll.
— Beth Newman (@bethknewman) November 7, 2020
Classy act by @AllBlacks Sam Cane #AUSvNZL to seek out slips with the bottle of wine after the game for his handy… about 60 mins prior they'd almost gone the biff in a ruck, that's #rugby right there!
— Andrew G Irwin (@AGIrwin) November 7, 2020
— Matt (@mattblues77) November 7, 2020
Sam Cane giving James Slipper a bottle of wine on the field after their dust up. Class! Hope it's a martinborough.
— Paul Farrell (@caplanepourmoix) November 7, 2020
Sam Cane just gave James Slipper a bottle of red for his 100th Test.
An hour ago they were about to punch on.
— Brendan Bradford (@1bbradfo) November 7, 2020
Their fans might be a bit of a pain in the arse at times, but the New Zealand players are always a class act on and off the pitch. You'd want Sam Cane on your side in just about any situation. Top bloke. Top player. #AUSvNZL
— Mike Bubbins (@MikeBubbins) November 7, 2020
Cane’s praise didn’t stop there, with fans respecting his no frills approach towards the post-match interview where he was upfront and honest about the cards, his team’s failings and where they lost the match.
Great win Wallabies, great sportsmanship by AB skipper Sam Cane in post match interview #AUSvNZL
— Rob Sutherland (@rob_sutherland3) November 7, 2020
— Paul Kneeshaw (@Stick_Beetle) November 7, 2020
After the game, Sam Cane refused to blame the cards as the reason for the defeat, saying they lacked the accuracy and smarts in other areas to beat the Wallabies.
“When I think of the game as a whole, it just reminds me of test match rugby. It doesn’t matter if there is fifteen players on each side or it gets down to fourteen vs. fourteen, the game is based off building pressure, playing smart, intensity and accuracy,” he said.
“I didn’t think we were quite smart enough when we got down there, I thought we brought the intensity but lacked a bit of accuracy. Those are the things that hurt us.
When it came to Ofa Tu’ungafasi’s sending off, Cane highlighted that both red-card tackles from either side were down to fine margins and neither player would do it deliberately.
“It’s a fast moving game with big collisions and every now and then, players are going to get it slightly wrong,” he said.
“And I don’t think either of those cards were malicious or dirty plays by any means, just fractionally off.
“We spend a lot of time practising, but in top sport like this there will be the odd error.”
It wasn’t all love for Cane though, the All Blacks flanker had some Australian fans upset with the way we seemed to escape punishment for breaching the offside line and pushing the limits of the breakdown laws.
Many were even calling him ‘McCaw-like’ for his ability to get away with indiscretions which went unnoticed by Australian ref Nic Berry, one of which was an interception from the base of the scrum where he ‘broke far before Wilson even passed that’.
— Michael (@spacemonkeytits) November 7, 2020
One call set up that whole series of events. Cane blatantly not bound at the scrum and not given. Cue 3 points NZ and a red card from the kick off. #AUSvNZL
— SW (@woodley71) November 7, 2020
Sam Cane is definitely wearing a cloak of invisibility. He was so far offsides and wasn't close to being bound at the scrum. Broke far before Wilson even passed that.#AUSvNZL
— Dylan Jack (@dylanmattjack) November 7, 2020
Scrum had shifted up on the Aus loosehead side. Literally impossible for Cane to be onside when that pass was thrown. #AUSvNZL
— Neil Treacy (@neil_treacy) November 7, 2020
Sam cane doing Richie things. #AUSVNZL
— Sam hopkins (@steamd_hams) November 7, 2020
Sam Cane was miles offside at that scrum. But the ref ? #AUSvNZL
— Leighton Koopman (@Leighton_K) November 7, 2020
Cane has got away with that #AUSvNZL
— Andy (@andyday414) November 7, 2020
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