Wednesday 17 January 2018

Hugh Farrelly: Cane enjoys 'Awesome' debut against physical Irish

Hugh Farrelly

NEW ZEALAND flanker Sam Cane says his introduction to Test rugby was something he will never forget, praising the Irish for their hugely physical display.

“They (Ireland) were tough, it was physical, but it was awesome,” said Cane, who came on at half time for Kieran Read in the 22-19 victory and was part of the late surge for Dan Carter’s winning drop goal.

“I was really surprised. There was a lot of composure out there, those older fellas set that tone. I felt really comfortable out there and we just needed to get the ball down the right end,” he said.

With Read a major doubt for Saturday’s third Test in Hamilton after taking a heavy blow to the head, Cane is poised for his first start while his Chiefs team-mate Liam Messam has been called into the squad as cover having missed out on the initial training camps.

Second-row Sam Whitelock was impressed with the way Ireland raised their performance after being beaten 42-10 in Eden Park the week before.

“They were a different side,” said Whitelock. “They had us on the back foot right from the start and were really physical, we were playing catch-up rugby straight away.”

While the All Blacks flew to Hamilton yesterday ahead of Saturday’s Test, Ireland are preparing in Queenstown, where they spent some time before their win over the Wallabies in the World Cup last year.

Declan Kidney and his players arrive at lunchtime today and are due to train at the Queenstown Events Centre tomorrow and again on Wednesday before transferring to Hamilton on Thursday after naming their team that morning.

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