Sam Cane ready to lead New Zealand for first time

The overhaul was expected with a four-day turnaround between the Pool C matches, but Cane’s elevation was not. But their roles have been reversed, with McCaw on the bench. It does not matter who we are playing.


Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder, who unfortunately dropped a pass from Williams with the try line in sight, both coming off their wings looking for work, while Ben Smith put in the mileage while making countless runs from full-back.

“It’s a magic place to play here at Wembley, it’s one of the great grounds to play at”. Again, there’s no specialist lock cover.

“We’ll give Namibia total respect because that’s what they deserve as another playing nation”. It’s not their time to step-up.

“We can’t just assume that Namibia will lie down because they won’t”.

Although it was somewhat unexpected when Cane was named as captain of a largely second-string team on Tuesday for what should be a World Cup demolition job at the Olympic Stadium, it was no surprise to anyone within the All Black camp.

Open-side flanker Cane has spent most of the last three years as an understudy to McCaw, New Zealand’s World Cup-winning captain and the most-capped player in the history of rugby (143).

The Namibians, the last team to get underway in the Cup, are on a hiding to nothing.

“I guess that’s what you expect first up”, said New Zealand captain Richie McCaw. I’ve spoken to the guys, Conrad and Richie, they know they were dumb ones.

McCaw, the All Blacks captain who will retire after the tournament, is at the front of the challenge, with fellow experienced players Kieran Read and Ma’a Nonu behind him and the rest of the team fanning out in rows behind them depending on seniority.

It was not the best start to the tournament, but, as Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade said, “today they showed why they are the best in the world”. We decided to give an opportunity to someone we have a lot of faith in.

Hansen hailed his bench for injecting energy and urgency in the second half as the All Blacks wore down their combative opponents after trailing for 56 minutes at Wembley Stadium.

After a dispiriting build-up to the tournament marred by injuries to key players, the Welsh moved level with hosts England at the top of Pool A on five points ahead of the teams’ seismic clash at Twickenham next Saturday.

Namibia turned up at previous World Cups happy to have qualified, not believing it could win.


“It doesn’t matter what they think”.

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