31 May 2016

All Blacks can overcome loss of experience - Cane

7:51 am on 31 May 2016

The loss of more than 800 test caps - and the experience those players bring - will become more and more apparent as the All Blacks build-up to the first test of the year intensifies, says flanker Sam Cane.

All Black flanker Sam Cane RWC2015

All Black flanker Sam Cane RWC2015 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks begin their post-Richie McCaw and Dan Carter era next week when they play Wales in their first Test since winning the World Cup last year.

The 32-man squad to prepare for the three Test series against Wales was named at the weekend, with six newcomers included.

The All Blacks have not only lost McCaw and Carter, but also Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock.

But Cane - who is set to take over from McCaw in the number seven jersey - said other players will simply need to take on leadership roles.

"Once we build into the week and start preparing for a Test week we might notice that a little bit more, but it's just a great opportunity for other leaders and other players to step up and fill those shoes in their own way.

"It's been stressed that they don't have to do anything out of the ordinary, just be ourselves."

Meanwhile, Cane said he knew the number seven jersey was not his by right.

Ardie Savea has come on this year to stake his claim as a future Test player and Cane said that situation was always going to happen with the All Blacks.

"The minute you think it's yours or you sit there and think you're an automatic selection, then you're running the risk of getting complacent and therefore not training to your potential. If you've got someone pushing you, I think it's only good for you and brings out the best."

-RNZ

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