England Test could be a first for Sam Cane

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In 66 Test matches, England is the only side missing from his resumé.

 

That was down to circumstance, he said.

 

Probably his best chance had been when England toured New Zealand but the day before the squad got announced he was injured playing for the Chiefs. There were a couple of end of year tours when he didn't get selected in the 23 and he missed last year's game through his neck injury.

 

"If I get the chance this weekend it'll be cool," he said.

 

Cane said his combination with Ardie Savea was continuing to evolve and they still had more they could contribute.

 

"Ardie has been working really hard on his set piece work which a six [blindside flanker] is required to do a bit more but pretty much bar the set piece our roles are pretty interchangeable whether that's attack or defence.

 

"We've definitely got room for improvement but things have been going all right," he said.

 

It didn't surprise him that they had gelled quickly as they had been working hard on it at training and in meeting up and discussing parts of their game.

 

"Ardie's a special player in his own right with a pretty special skill set," he said.

 

That was clear from the fact he had played in all three loose forward positions in the All Blacks jersey, he said.

 

Cane was well aware of the threat the All Blacks faced in the loose at the weekend.

 

England's flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill had huge appetites for work, and had very good skill sets. They've been impressive, he said.

 

But the All Blacks were starting to prepare for the challenge ahead.

 

"After putting everything into last week, everyone was really deliberate with their time yesterday, using it to decompress knowing that we will have to put everything back into it again this week," he said.

 

Sunday was spent in recovery and Monday they had their first gym session and review and were starting to look forward now.

 

"It's just an exciting feel, we're where we want to be."

 

Cane said he was happy to start against Ireland, and was happy with the 40 minutes he played. Everyone wanted to be playing at this stage of the tournament but he said it was a team sport and coaches were making decisions based on what was best for the All Blacks to get the job done.

 

One positive for him was that because he was brought off at halftime he was feeling fresher than some of those who had played a little longer.

As regards Japan's tournament being ended by South Africa, Cane said he felt overall Japan had shown they were truly a competitive top tier nation.

 

"The brand of rugby they are playing is exciting and they should be really proud," he said.

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