Chiefs and All Blacks flanker Sam Cane has been named on the bench for the Super Rugby side as he prepares to return from a horrific neck injury sustained against South Africa in October 2018.
Cane has been out of action for the last eight months after he fractured a vertebra in a collision with South African Francois Louw during the All Blacks’ 32-30 win over the Springboks.
The 27-year old is among the replacements for the Chiefs but the club outlined in a statement that it’s likely their co-captain sees game time from the first time this season.
“Cane will take the field for the first time this Super Rugby season,” the club said in a statement.
The flanker’s return will be a welcome one for both the Chiefs and the All Blacks given how severe his injury was. Cane had to spend six weeks in a neck brace following surgery but thankfully escaped nerve damage which could have paralysed him.
Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper had mentioned midweek that Cane had been “going really well” and that he was in line for a return against the Blues this weekend.
A fully fit and firing Sam Cane will also be a welcome boost for the All Blacks in a crucial World Cup year, with the 27-year old a massive part of Steve Hansen’s side.
Speaking to Stuff.co.nz during the week, Cane explained that he is really looking forward to making his return after such a difficult injury lay off, and outlined that he has no fear heading back into the game.
“I’m literally just looking forward to playing. It will be cool to go out with no expectations on yourself for a few weeks. I’m sure they’ll come back quickly, but I’m just excited to play again.
“Even just running round with the boys this week at training, running with the ball, getting some collisions in, it’s been good fun.”
“I don’t think I will have any fear. I will have ticked off all those sort of things in training before I go out on the field. No stone is unturned. There will always be things you might get slightly wrong.
“But the surgeon is not going to send me out there unless he’s 100 per cent sure. In a funny way my neck should actually be stronger as I’ve got two vertebrae fused together with a bit of metal wrapped around them.”