Sane Cane has been named as Kieran Read’s successor as the new captain of the All Blacks.
The appointment of the flanker is the first major decision made by New Zealand head coach Ian Foster, who took over the reigns from Steve Hansen after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Read announced he would be retiring from international rugby after the tournament in Japan, and fellow back row Cane, 28, has been selected to take the honour.
Like Read, formerly of the Crusaders, Cane will skipper his provincial side Chiefs and the national team having played 68 Tests previously led the All Blacks on three occasions.
Cane described being given the captaincy as a ‘massive honour’ and outlined how he would approach his teammates in the role.
“The great thing about the All Blacks is that the leadership group is full of captains and experienced players already, so I am just really looking forward to working closely with that group and doing my best to lead them and the rest of the squad,” Cane said.
“My style as captain will not 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.
“While we don’t know yet what the rest of the year looks like for the All Blacks, I am looking forward to catching up with the coaches and other senior players as we firm up our plans.”
Cane made his New Zealand debut as a 20-year-old in 2012, and made 48 starts in 68 Tests despite playing behind Richie McCaw in the openside pecking order.
Since McCaw’s retirement in 2015, Cane has had to contend with the emergence of Ardie Savea for the No.7 shirt.
Foster, who acted as assistant coach to Hansen, stated his belief that Cane would be a personable leader.
“Sam is an experienced All Black with eight years in the team now and is a follow-me type of leader and a very good thinker in the game,” Foster said. “He has a natural ability to connect with everyone in the team and is straightforward and direct when he needs to be.
“There’s a massive respect for Sam among the players and management and he is perfectly placed to lead the All Blacks into the future.”