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Sam Cane named as new All Blacks captain

Sam Cane. File photo.

 

New All Blacks captain Sam Cane says he has no plans to change the way he does things.

The 28-year-old Chiefs loose forward takes over from Kieran Read who stepped down following last year's World Cup to take up a contract in Japan.

Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock had been seen as the likely successor to Read but new All Blacks coach has opted to go with Cane.

Cane has played 68 tests for the All Blacks, three as captain but it's uncertain whether he will get to lead the side this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cane says it's a "massive honour" to be given the captaincy.

"My style as captain will be to not really change the way I do things. I'm just myself and will continue to be. I already work on building relationships, especially with the younger guys in the squad, and everyone else connected with the team, so that will continue."

Coach Ian Foster says Cane "is a 'follow me' type of leader and a very good thinker in the game. He has a natural ability to connect with everyone in the team and is straightforward and direct when he needs to be".

"Over the last few years, he has grown into his own skin...he's not afraid to challenge and question. He likes clarity and he feels if he's not clear (about what's happening) then the team's not clear - so he asks a lot of questions, which can be a bit frustrating at times but that is the beauty of him as a captain."

While the All Blacks' plans for this year are still being worked through due to the pandemic, Foster says there is an important role for the captain.

"We wanted to confirm Sam now because he'll play a key role helping us plan for whatever the future looks like and will be working behind the scenes with the other leaders."

Cane is now the 67th test captain and fifth youngest ever when he captained the team against Namibia at Rugby World Cup in 2015 at the age of 23.

He also captained the team against Italy in 2016 and against Argentina in Buenos Aires last year.

"While we don't know yet what the rest of the year looks like for the All Blacks, I'm looking forward to catching up with the coaches and other senior players as we firm up our plans," says Cane.

It's unclear if any international rugby will be played this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

-RNZ

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