The All Blacks may head into the Rugby Championship without captain Sam Cane, who has been ruled out for up to six months with a chest injury.
The 70-Test All Blacks flank reportedly suffered the injury while on duty for the Chiefs in last week’s 15-12 win over the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
The Chiefs on Thursday confirmed that Cane’s injury was caused by a tear to his right pectoral tendon, leaving him headed for surgery next week.
His recovery time is an expected four to six months, meaning he could also miss a significant chunk of time with the All Blacks. They hope to play a 15-Test schedule this year, including hosting Italy and Fiji in July, the Rugby Championship and a northern-hemisphere tour.
‘I’m obviously disappointed but also really positive that it’s an easy fix,’ Cane said.
‘I’m looking forward to getting into some rehab post-surgery and doing that really well, so I am coming back in good shape for the end of the rugby season, whatever rugby that may be.
‘In the meantime, I will be supporting the Chiefs boys and doing whatever I can to keep them continuing to move in the right direction.’
All Blacks coach Ian Foster added Cane will still play an important role in the team regardless of whether he’s on the field or not.
‘We are all disappointed for Sam, but we have full faith in the medical team around him and we wish him well for his surgery and rehabilitation,’ Foster said.
‘As All Blacks captain, he will still play a key role in our planning for the 2021 season, and we look forward to him returning to the footy field once his rehab is complete.’
Cane has previously spent considerable time on the sidelines with a variety of injuries including a broken neck that kept him out the game for almost a year.
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