Sam Cane has declared himself ready to play in next Saturday’s Test match against the USA after the All Blacks flank banked 57 minutes of club rugby in his comeback from a long-term injury.
The 2020 All Blacks captain turned out for hometown club King Country in their match against Whanganui on Saturday.
Cane, who was Ian Foster’s initial choice as captain in 2020, has been out since suffering a pectoral injury in April. During his time off the field, he also went under the knife to repair damage to his shoulder. It was his second major surgery in two years, having also undergone work on his neck in 2018.
Saturday marked Cane’s only chance for game time before the All Blacks resume their Test calendar, starting with a Test against the USA in Washington DC on 23 October.
“It was real cool to pull on the boots again,” Cane told SENZ Radio. “It was a different level of footy, and was challenging, and unstructured, but I loved it. I certainly noticed my instincts and timing were off after a wee while out of the game, but hopefully I got a bit of rust out. The shoulder felt really good, so that’s the main thing.
“The neck was unfortunate, but this one was a bit of wear and tear which makes sense. I’ve had a bad run with two major surgeries in three years, but in 2020 I had a great year and not for one minute [of this rehab] did I think this is not what I want to be doing. I was focused on getting back and still feel like I’ve got plenty to offer.”
While he has only played three-quarters of a match, Cane said he was ready to return to Test rugby, if he is named in the match-day 23 to face the Eagles.
“There’s been no real discussion around that,” added Cane who spoke to Foster and fitness coach Nic Gill straight after the game. “It’s more about getting back in the environment and training at that level of intensity the All Blacks do and getting a read off that … but it sort of makes sense that game against the States will be a pretty good sort of ease back into Test footy.”
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