Sam Cane has backed Ian Foster’s decision to pull him from the field in the final minutes of Saturday night’s loss to the Pumas in Christchurch.
Cane was substituted in the 67th minute of the fixture and – not for the first time this season – was forced to watch from the sidelines as his charges fell to an unexpected defeat.
“That wasn’t talked about or pre-determined or anything to do with me,” Cane confirmed earlier this week. “But I back the coaches when they make a decision to sub someone, whether that’s me or anyone else.
“They’re doing it with the best interests of the team at heart and that’s how decisions are made in this team. I don’t take it personally, by any means.”
Cane’s comments weren’t dissimilar from those he made following games against Ireland (twice) and South Africa, where was also consigned to the sidelines late in the piece.
While two of those occasions have resulted in wins for the men in black, two have ended in defeat. Perhaps coincidentally, in all four matches that Cane has been pulled from the field, the All Blacks have neither turned a win into a loss nor a loss into a victory.
Speaking the morning after the 25-18 loss at the hands of Argentina, head coach Foster made it clear that he still has full faith in his captain.
“Clearly he is under the spotlight,” Foster said. “We are all under the spotlight when things don’t go well. But behind the scenes, [he remains] strong.
“I thought a lot of his tackle and work around the breakdown was a big shift up in the last two games, and we are pleased with that.
“We just felt we needed a bit more power in our carry stuff so it was really a decision to take a fetcher off and put a ball carrier on.”