New All Black Captain Sam Cane's Nail-Biting International Debut

New All Black Captain Sam Cane's Nail-Biting International Debut

The night of 12 June 2012 was a bitterly cold one in the Waikato city of Hamilton. On the pitch, green jerseys clashed with black as New Zealand took on a spirited Irish outfit in the second test of the three-match series.

The thumping Ireland had received in the first test a week before (42-10) had evidently awoken an icy fighting spirit in the team, who managed to go into half-time ahead of the All Blacks on the scoreboard.

As the players jogged back out onto the field for the second half, eighthman Kieran Read was not among them. Instead, head coach Steve Hansen had pulled number 19, twenty year-old Sam Cane, off the bench and thrown him into the mix.

Cane had previously represented New Zealand U20, showing great promise as a tough, hard-working flanker.

The youngster was gifted an early first touch after the kick-off, sniping through a half-gap to take the ball over the advantage line – a play he was to repeat many times throughout a nail-biting half of rugby.

Current All Black head coach Ian Foster has this year named Cane as his All Black captain, taking over from Kieran Read. It was not an appointment that surprised many after the commitment Cane has shown to the jersey throughout his career.

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