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'It's just good rugby banter' - New Zealand captain Sam Cane plays down spat with Peter O'Mahony


All Blacks captain Sam Cane

All Blacks captain Sam Cane

All Blacks captain Sam Cane

All Blacks captain Sam Cane has played down his spat with Peter O'Mahony in the latter stages of Ireland's historic win last weekend.

As tempers flared, Cane and O'Mahony became embroiled in a heated exchange. When Cane was asked about the incident today, he brushed it off.

“It's just good rugby banter, it's all part of the game, I don't mind it. It's good stuff," Cane said.

Pressed on what O'Mahony actually said to him, a member of the All Blacks media team interjected:
“Okay, we are done, thank you.”

The flashpoint has added even more spice to this weekend's series decider, with Cane feeling the heat in terms of his leadership and captaincy.

Wayne Barnes is set to take charge of the game in Wellington, and Cane admitted that the appointment of the experienced English referee was welcomed, as he has such a good relationship with him.

“We've got massive respect for Wayne Barnes as a referee and obviously he has so much experience. (We are) Really comfortable with his refereeing style. I'm looking forward to working with him.”

After the All Blacks got on the wrong side of Jaco Peyper in Dunedin, they will be looking to tighten up their discipline, as they look to avoid another major shock on home soil.

“Rugby can be a simple game and we had 27 unforced errors,” Cane said.

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“If you think about how many minutes we had the ball, that's just ridiculous. Our discipline let us down massively. A lot can change in rugby in seven days.

"We have to make sure we fix it up, but the belief is strong, the group is tight, we are together. I don't feel like there are any chinks inside the camp.”

“The situation is not what we wanted but we look at it now and embrace it. It's a good challenge for us. It's just like World Cup stuff. Looking forward to it.”

The All Blacks have slipped to fourth in the latest world rankings, following last weekend's defeat but Cane downplayed its relevance.

“If I’m honest we haven’t paid too much attention to that,” the back-row insisted.

“We’ve got enough on our hands but digesting what happened at the weekend and then focussing on the game next weekend to worry about things like world rankings and that sort of stuff. That takes care of itself when we’re playing well, so that’s where all the energy is on.”

Asked if fourth in the world was a fair reflection of where the All Blacks stood right now, Cane added:
“Aw look, I don’t know I don’t even understand how the rankings work exactly myself.

"It’s certainly a goal of ours to make sure that we get back to world number one but we realise the process in doing that is performing consistently every week and at the moment we haven’t been doing that well enough.

“The drive is massive. We are hugely disappointed with what we dished out on Saturday.

"Credit to Ireland, they played really well, but we need to be so much better and our drive is the fact that we have pride in the jersey and we’re not happy with what we put out, so we’re working really hard to make sure that that doesn’t happen again.”

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