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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England can overtake All Blacks 'within a year' says John Mitchell

Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell believes that England can overtake New Zealand in less than 12 months, having recently joined Eddie Jones' coaching set-up.

Having been in charge of the All Blacks in an ill-fated stint from 2001-03, 54-year old Mitchell now finds himself as England's defence coach, and will take on old team in November.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mitchell says that beating the All Blacks is a key motivator for his new side, but says that it can happen in less than 12 months.

"I really believe that England can get better and be the best within a year's time. I really do believe that. Why? Because of what I've seen in the past."

"They [the All Blacks] are outstanding, but I guess what gives us all life is that it is a World Cup year and a World Cup does close the gap.

"It's knockout rugby and you just need to focus on being the better team yourself.

"New Zealand have set the benchmark and sent out the signal to all of us – 'you come and get us'."

Conrad Smith against England Source: Photosport


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'Never give up until your time is finished' - Israel Dagg still dreaming of All Blacks recall

Former All Black Israel Dagg says he refuses to believe his time in the black jersey is over, after falling down the pecking order in Steve Hansen's side.

Dagg, 30, is currently in the middle of a stint with the Canon Eagles in Japan, appearing to be behind the likes of Rieko Ioane, Ben Smith, Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Waisake Naholo in the reckoning for a spot in the All Blacks' back three.

Speaking to Stuff though, Dagg says that he's confident of adding to his 66 Tests, having this year won a second straight Super Rugby title with the Crusaders.

"You never give up until your time is finished in New Zealand. I'll go back to Christchurch next year and give it one last whirl and if it works out, it works out," Dagg said.

"It's pretty competitive in the back three, especially in my position, so we'll see how it goes. I've just got to start playing well for the Crusaders and hopefully things take care of themselves."

With less than a year until the next World Cup in Japan, Dagg also says that he's using the memory of 2015 as motivation, having been overlooked for Steve Hansen's squad for the England tournament.

"It does light a bit of fire in the belly. I hold no grudges, [missing the 2015 Rugby World Cup] was a long time ago. Being a family man now, you kind of can deal with things a lot easier now. Whatever happens, happens. I'll go back to New Zealand and give it my best."

Dagg is yet to feature for the Canon Eagles due to a calf injury, but is available to make his debut on Sunday against the Coca-Cola Red Sparks.

Israel Dagg Source: Getty


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All Black Sonny Bill Williams goes through light gym session ahead Pumas Test

There were positive signs for All Blacks fans as Sonny Bill Williams completed a light gym session in Buenos Aires in Argentina overnight.

The 32-year-old midfielder completed a series of cable exercises and stretches during his team’s training session.

Williams was initially named on the All Blacks' bench to play the Springboks a fortnight ago in Wellington, before being pulled from the team due to illness (tonsillitis).

The All Blacks went down 36-34 against South Africa at Westpac Stadium, their first loss in the 2018 Rugby Championship.

Williams hasn't played international rugby since he injured his shoulder in the French Test series in June.

Williams was initially named on the bench in the Springboks Test in Wellington, but was ruled out after not fully recovering from tonsillitis. Source: ESPN


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French club Pau targeting Ben Smith, Ardie Savea signings - report

French club Pau are looking to add to the All Blacks' recent player exodus, reportedly targeting the signatures of star duo Ben Smith and Ardie Savea.

According to a report in French site Rugbyrama, former All Blacks and Pau coach Simon Mannix is looking at adding the duo to his ranks, hoping to mount a challenge in the Top 14.

In particular, 32-year old Smith could loom as a likely signing, with his New Zealand Rugby contract containing a termination clause that could see him move overseas after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Savea on the other hand, could seek a move away after next year's World Cup, seemingly behind Sam Cane in the pecking order for the number seven jersey, while brother Julian traded Wellington for French outfit Toulon earlier this year.

Pau's ranks are littered with former All Blacks, with the likes of Conrad Smith, Colin Slade, Tom Taylor, Benson Stanley, Jamie Mackintosh and Carl Hayman all having represented the club.

Ben Smith.
All Blacks v France. Rugby Union. Steinlager Series, 1st test match. Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 9 June 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
All Blacks star back Ben Smith. Source: Photosport


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