Video: 'He's really growing into that No.7 jersey' – Steve Hansen heaps praise on Sam Cane ahead of milestone 50th Test

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has heaped praise on loose forward Sam Cane ahead of this weekend's final Bledisloe Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane, saying he's stepped out of Richie McCaw's shadow and made the No.7 jersey his own.

Cane, who re-signed with New Zealand Rugby on Tuesday until the end of 2021, will bring up his 50th Test for the All Blacks in Saturday's clash at Suncorp Stadium - a milestone the All Blacks coach says has been a "very quick trip to 50".

"He came in as a young player," Hansen said of the 25-year-old.

The All Blacks flanker re-signed with New Zealand Rugby through to 2021. Source: 1 NEWS

"We identified him as the guy who would probably take over after Richie; part of our planning was to make sure he knew what Test rugby was about by the time Richie left and I think he was on 30 odd Test matches when Richie finished after the [2015] World Cup."

Cane debuted for the All Blacks as a 20-year-old in 2012 when he came off the bench to play No.8 in a 22-19 win over Ireland in Christchurch.

Since then, he's earned 30 starts for the All Blacks and captained the team twice - the first at the 2015 World Cup against Namibia and again the following year against Italy on the end-of-year tour.

Hansen says it's all helped build an impressive resume.

"He's well versed," he said.

The 25-year-old flanker agreed to a four-year extension that keeps him that also keeps him at the Chiefs. Source: 1 NEWS

"He's in the leadership group, he's led the team a couple of times as captain and he's now the Chiefs captain so that side of his game and his development is growing and he's really growing into that No.7 jersey and making it his own."

Cane admitted on Tuesday that although he had won a World Cup, it wasn't as fulfilling a feeling as the prospect of winning as a starter at the tournament.

After playing in Richie McCaw's shadow in 2015, the openside flanker wants to 'play a major role' when they defend their title in two years time. Source: 1 NEWS

"I think, from a player's point of view, there's a difference in being involved in winning a World Cup and playing a major role on the field," he said.

"I played in most of the games [in 2015] with just a couple of starts so it takes on a different dynamic.

"It's something I'll be striving for - to play a major role in some of those big games in those big moments."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS


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'I'm sure we'll see his game go to even greater heights' - All Blacks star Rieko Ioane signs long term deal with NZ Rugby

Star winger Rieko Ioane has committed to the All Blacks for four more years in a significant win for New Zealand Rugby.

The 21-year-old, who has scored 18 tries from 18 Tests, was the subject of intense offshore club interest but has chosen to remain put at his Super Rugby team the Blues.

His deal is the longest of any current All Black, taking him to the end of 2022.

Ioane was last year crowned World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year and was also a nominee for the main award.

His electric pace and nose for the tryline has been a key element for the world champions, most notably on last year's tour of Europe when he single-handedly proved the difference in Test wins over Scotland and Wales.

"I want to give it my best shot at serving the black jersey and, hopefully, I'll get the chance to play at the Rugby World Cup in the future. That's a huge motivator for me," he said.

Akira Ioane was an unlucky exclusion from Steve Hansen's squad this morning.
Source: 1 NEWS

Ioane's older brother Akira, 23, has also extended his NZ Rugby contract, until 2021.

The powerful Blues No.8 is yet to be capped but played a midweek match for the All Blacks in France last November.

Both brothers are former New Zealand sevens stars who are regarded by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as among the country's premier young players.

"With his growing maturity and growth in his game understanding, I'm sure we'll see Rieko's game go to even greater heights," Hansen said.

"Akira is also an immense talent who has a bright future in our national game and we congratulate him on his decision as well."

(L to R) Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane and Akira Ioane,
All Blacks training session ahead of the upcoming test series against France. Alexandra Park. Auckland, New Zealand. Tuesday 22 May 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Rieko Ioane and Akira Ioane during an All Blacks training session in Auckland. Source: Photosport


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All Blacks star Rieko Ioane signs four year deal with NZ Rugby

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has signed a new four-year deal with New Zealand Rugby today.

The 21-year-old was named World Rugby's breakout player of the year in 2017 and has been outstanding for the national side since making his debut in 2016.

Brother Akira also signed a new three-year deal with NZ Rugby.

Rieko has scored 18 tries in 18 Tests, including a double against South Africa in Wellington last week in the All Blacks' 36-34 loss.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said it was "fantastic news for New Zealand Rugby. Rieko is a young player with undoubted talent who has already achieved wonderful things on the international stage."

Rieko said he felt "incredibly privileged to get the opportunity to play my rugby here for another four years." He said playing at a World Cup was "a huge motivator for me."

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said last month that Rieko is key player for the future.

"He's a vital component of our plan going forward," said Foster.

"I can't speak highly enough about him. He came in with a bit of a swagger and he has learned about the All Blacks.

"What I like is he has got real maturity about him, he hasn't got ahead of himself, and he quietly goes about his work."

The new deal will see Rieko stay in New Zealand until the end of 2022 with Akira signed until the end of 2021.

"He's learning how to prepare better and better every test match, and when he goes out and plays he seems to enjoy doing what he's done since he was a kid. As long as we can keep him in that mode it's really exciting."

Rieko Ioane scores his second try.
New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa Springboks. Rugby Championship test match. Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand. Saturday 15 September 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane scores his second try against the Springboks. Source: Photosport


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Wallabies star Israel Folau wins Waratahs MVP award despite controversial year

Superstar fullback Israel Folau has won the Matthew Burke Cup, the NSW Waratahs players' players award.

The Wallabies back polled 99 votes, to finish ahead of captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper (77), backrower Michael Wells (71) and inside centre Kurtley Beale (65).

Votes were cast on a 3-2-1 basis by members of each match day squad after the Waratahs Super Rugby games.

Wells won the Waratahs best forward award and Beale took out the gong for their best back.

The NSW women's player of the year was veteran back Ash Hewson, who captained her state to the inaugural Super W title.

SYDNEY, NSW - MARCH 18: Waratahs player Israel Folau (14) looks towards the scoreboard at round 5 of the Super Rugby between Waratahs and Rebels at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on March 18, 2018. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire)
Waratahs player Israel Folau. Source: Photosport


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Rampaging Northland forwards combine for exquisite try as Taniwha dominate Southland

Northland piled on the hurt for Southland in the Mitre 10 Cup, handing the visitors their 17th consecutive loss with the Taniwha winning 26-10 at Toll Stadium in Whangārei last night.

The home team dominated the Stags in the first spell, running in three tries to lead at the break 19-3.

The try of the match came in the 17th minute, when several Northland forwards combined down the left edge for a brilliant play.

Number eight Matt Matich made a line-break from the back of the breakdown just outside the Stag's 40 metre line, then linked up with Isileli Tu'ungafasi who bowled over Southland's halfback Jay Renton with ease after a charging run.

Northland quickly shifted the ball down the left flank where Kara Pryor threw a dummy before popping up a perfect pass to Matich who crossed over for Northland's second try of the match.

The Taniwha will now take on Hawke's Bay next on Wednesday at McLean Park in Napier.

Northland sit third on the Mitre 10 Cup Championship ladder.

Northland 26: (Matt Mattich, Sam Nock, Murray Douglas 2 tries; Jack Debreczeni 3 cons)

Southland 10: (Manaaki Selby-Rickit try; James Wilson pen, Broc Hooper con) HT: 19-3

The Taniwha defeated the Stags 26-10 in Whangārei. Source: SKY


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