Sam Cane kept his anointment as All Blacks captain secret for the past two months.
In his first major decision as All Blacks coach, Ian Foster opted for Cane’s leadership qualities over Sam Whitelock, the centurion lock whom many believed had been groomed to succeed Kieran Read.
Cane debuted for the All Blacks in 2012 and first captained the team three years later at the World Cup against Namibia aged 23. He has played 68 tests, leading the team three times, and has been in the leadership group six years.
As a fellow flanker, from day one Cane absorbed lessons from Richie McCaw and he now gets the chance to follow in his footsteps, and those of Read, as a long-term leader.
“There’s no doubt that sitting in those meetings with some of the legends of the game has increased my knowledge and leadership style,” Cane told Sky Sport’s Breakdown show. “Leadership is one of those things you grow into over time. You learn more about yourself, about the game, you learn to trust your teammates. It’s not all on your shoulders.”