All Blacks should relax eligibility rules for overseas players, says captain Sam Cane

By Le Figaro with AFP

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Sam Cane and Cheslin Kolbe now teammates in Japan. RICHARD A. BROOKS / AFP

The New Zealand captain has signed a one-season contract with Tokyo Sungoliath, but should not miss a match with the finalists of the last World Cup.

All Blacks captain Sam Cane said on Tuesday he hoped “improve» as a player in Japan, where he signed a one-season contract with Tokyo Sungoliath. Cane captained New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup but was sent off in the final, which the Blacks lost 12-11 to South Africa. “The only goal is to play well, try to improve as a rugby player and hopefully get the opportunity to come back» in the All Blacks group, he summarized.

This transfer to Japan will “test myself as a rugby player», Estimates the 31-year-old third wing line, who has never played for a team based outside his country of origin. “This will allow me to develop my game and I’m really looking forward to it», ures Cane, one of the many All Blacks exiled to Japan for the new season of the local championship, which begins on December 9. Third row Ardie Savea, recently crowned player of the year by World Rugby, fly-half Richie Mo’unga and full-back Beauden Barrett are also among the new arrivals in the Japanese archipelago.

The example of the Springboks

Eligibility rules state that these players cannot represent the All Blacks while based at foreign clubs. But Cane’s short-term contract means he will potentially not miss any international matches and will be available for selection as early as June next year. “A lot of Springboks have shown that they are capable of playing in League One and coming back to international rugby quite quickly and continuing to give their best,” he said.

The flanker said he had a long discussion with new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson before leaving for Japan. “Playing for the All Blacks is earned by playing well every weekCane said. “I know the All Blacks coaches will be keeping an eye on some of us here“.

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