All Blacks great Buck Shelford has backed Sam Cane’s comments about “brutal” supporters, saying all fans have to do on game day is eat pies and chips.
Cane made headlines yesterday after defending his side’s heavily criticised 25-15 loss to Argentina last Saturday, saying armchair critics “don't see the stuff that goes on behind the scenes".
"I think we’ve got amazing fans, but we’ve also got some pretty brutal ones. With that, you’ve just got to remind yourself that, 'hey, they might like to think they know a lot about the game of rugby, but in reality they don’t'.”
The comments were met with plenty more questions from fans but Shelford – who led the All Blacks 31 times without losing – agrees with the current captain.
“I've heard a lot of comments from people saying they are useless and all this sort of stuff but it's a lot harder than people think,” Shelford told Newstalk ZB this morning.
"We're so used to winning that when we do lose we get our heckles up and we get a bit annoyed with the boys. They will lose at times.
"I think he [Cane] is just being honest. We can be quite cruel to our international stars, not just in rugby, but any of our sports stars."
Shelford said the creation of social media since his playing time has made such critiquing easier than ever, although he doubts all of it is genuine.
"Now we're living in this technology age, people are just punching out stuff all the time and sometimes do they really mean it? They don't really think about it they just put it in then all of a sudden it's gone… They've got to realise it takes a long time to get into the top, a lot of pain.
"They get brutally hammered every week especially when test matches come along. We don't have to do that. We just have to sit in the stands, eat pies and chips and watch what they do. We complain if they lose and if they win we go and get absolutely pissed."
Cane and head coach Ian Foster have been talked about the most in the All Blacks’ rough season which currently features just two wins, two losses and a draw but also the retention of the Bledisloe Cup.
Cane said outside noise hasn’t affected the camp.
"To me, if I am having my leadership questioned in the public, people’s opinions that really matter to me are my teammates and my coaches, who I work with every single day," Cane says.
"I’ve got a lot of confidence from them we’re on the right track. We understand being in this role comes with a lot of pressure and a lot of public scrutiny - so, it’s not like it’s a shock."
The All Blacks have this week off to help them rediscover that form before they finish their 2020 season against Argentina next Saturday.