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'Things can change quickly': Richie McCaw throws support behind Cane and Foster

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Former All Black captain Richie McCaw has thrown his support behind Sam Cane and Ian Foster while recalling the period before the 2011 World Cup as evidence that all is not lost.

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The All Blacks have won three tests this year from seven matches, a historically low return of 42 per cent, but still remain in the hunt for this year’s Rugby Championship title.

The 148-test legend told French publication Midi Olympique that he trusts the All Black captain and head coach ‘a lot’ and said there is still plenty of time left before next year’s event in France.

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“I trust them a lot [Ian Foster and Sam Cane],” McCaw told Midi Olympique.

“The results are what they are today but we are one year away from the World Cup and there is still time.

“There is plenty of time left… In 2010 there were also questions about the coach and players and we finally won afterwards.

“Things can change very quickly”.

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Following the shock 2007 quarter-final defeat to France, McCaw’s All Blacks underwent a challenging period midway through the next World Cup cycle.

They were swept in three tests against South Africa in 2009 which led to a heap of pressure on the coaching staff who were retained after the 2007 exit.

The All Blacks successfully turned things around in time for the 2011 campaign and squeaked past France in the final 8-7 to win the tournament for the first time in 24 years.

“Obviously I want to see the All Blacks win every match but that’s not the case. I hope they learn from their defeats,” he said.

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“I also remember that in 2009 we lost three tests and still won the World Cup two years later.

“There will be several favourites, but I have no doubt that we have a team calibrated to win the next World Cup.”

One of the favourites for next year’s tournament is France, who will be looking to emulate the feats of McCaw’s 2011 side by winning the World Cup at home.

They will face the All Blacks in an anticipated tournament opener that will likely decide the seedings of their pool.

.McCaw is a fan of what France have been able to build around a younger core of players like Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack.

He witnessed the 40-25 win over the All Blacks last November but joked that this ‘quality’ French side is not unbeatable.

“I am impressed by the quality of this French team. The opener against the All Blacks will be a hell of a game and I think it will be spectacular,” he said.

“I watched New Zealand-France last November, Antoine Dupont was sensational.

“He manages the team in the right direction. They don’t have very old players but they trust each other, it shows.

“They have the elements to maintain a very high level of speed, many of the players in this generation arrived at the same time, it’s a fun team to watch and believe in.

“I was talking about a lack of confidence in the All Blacks, for the French it is the opposite.

“But they are not unbeatable!”

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