All Blacks must follow Bok example, says captain Sam Cane

A number of All Blacks players now play their rugby abroad and are thus ineligible to play for the national team.


All Blacks captain Sam Cane has called on New Zealand Rugby to follow in the Springboks’ footsteps and select overseas-based players.

The loose forward is among a plethora of experienced All Blacks internationals who left New Zealand to take up a move to Japan after the 2023 World Cup.

While Cane will return to New Zealand in time for next July’s internationals, the All Blacks will still be unable to select key playmaker Richie Mounga, who has signed a three-year contract with Toshiba Brave Lupus.

Cane believes that the All Blacks can learn lessons from the Springboks, who selected 17 overseas-based players in their original 33-player World Cup squad.

“A lot of the Springboks have shown the ability to play in League One and go back to international rugby fairly quickly and continue to play their best,” Cane told reporters.

“The challenge for us who are on the shorter-term deals in the hope of playing international rugby again is that we play really well here,” he added.

“Should we get the opportunity to represent the All Blacks again, we’ve got to show we’ve improved our games. If not, kick off where we left off.

“If we can do that, maybe that conversation can be had with New Zealand Rugby, but I can also see the other side.

“The fact of having experienced players to bring through young guys in the New Zealand game is equally important.

“Obviously a lot to consider and well above my pay grade.”

Cane will be playing for Suntory Sungoliath in the 2024 Japan Division One season, alongside Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe.

This story first appeared on sarugbymag.co.za. It is republished here with permission. For the original story click here.

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