New Zealand: Cane, captain under pressure

New Zealand: Cane, captain under pressure

NEW ZEALAND – Under pressure from his team’s poor performance, All Blacks captain Sam Cane is increasingly challenged by his poor performance.

Coach Ian Foster wasn’t the only target of criticism in the land of the long white cloud, as the five defeats in the last six encounters have been particularly bad with all New Zealand rugby observers. The second man in goal for the latter is none other than the captain, third row Sam Kahn. Originally, we can recall that the Chiefs version was never unanimous about it. But there, he is under more pressure because his performance on the ground is not good, despite his firm commitment and his burning desire to get his team out of trouble.

Last week in Nelspruit, Sam Cane was one of the worst performers on his team. He really suffered in comparison to Boks captain Siya Kolisi, and even to his replacement, tireless pocket player Kwaja Smith who signed a stellar play entry. Kenny was like his team: exhausted. Especially in the ground game which, along with volleys, was one of the New Zealanders’ greatest failures at Mbombela Stadium. Under these circumstances, the captain’s armband becomes heavier than wearing it, as former Springbok Chalkburger, World Champion and wise observer of the last game suggested: “Being a bad team captain only increases the pressure on your shoulders. It’s hard on Sam Kahn, whose judgment is bound to be impaired by that pressure.”

Akira Ewan is also disappointing

The problem is, Cane isn’t the only disappointment. On the other side of the battle, Akira Iwan was almost non-existent. Except for a nice hack that I conclude with…a forward pass to a partner who came in: “I don’t think his style of play suits the Springboks. Akira is an extra three-quarter. I’ll pick him up for other matches, as he can come down the halls and dominate the wings with his body and technique. But against the Springboks, I didn’t see him try to weaken our defence.” Thus, preference for Burger goes to Scott Barrett who, along with Ardi Savea, was one of the few New Zealand strikers to rival the South African ferocity: “I know he’s on the second line, but I find him excellent on the 6. He’s an excellent ball carrier. He reminds me of Jerome Kaino in his prime.” And it’s true that blacks could really use a hitman like the great Jerome…

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