Kirwan calls for ailing All Blacks to sit out Sam

John Kirwan says the All Blacks have a “leadership issue” and need seriously consider dropping captain Sam Cane for the remainder of the Rugby Championship.

Kirwan was speaking on Sky TV’s ‘The Breakdown’ panel show, where three former All Blacks were involved in a heavy debate over the latest historic home loss, this time to Argentina.

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In the wake of their first-ever home loss to Los Pumas, the All Blacks have dropped to a lowest-ever fifth position in the World Rugby rankings.

The All Blacks have now lost four out of six matches in 2022 and six out of eight Tests dating back to November.

“It is a leadership issue,” Kirwan said. “Should we blood some young guys in there? Do we need to rest Cane, rest [Sam] Whitelock? I’m not saying they won’t be good enough to go to the World Cup, but we need to start putting some of these young guys under fire. We’ve lost so many games now, we might as well.

“Both Whitelock and Cane look pretty tired to me. Maybe we need to go, ‘Sit this one out, play against Aussie’. Be open. I want to see Dalton Papalii out there. We’ve lost six out of the last eight, so let’s go, righto boys, the competition is on.

“And the leadership group needs to get together and go, ‘We didn’t perform, what do we need to do about that?’ Is it too much process and not enough emotion? Did we not have the skills from the coaches or an alternative kicking game? The leaders need to ask those questions of the coaches, and the coaches need to ask those questions of them.”

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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