Cory Jane has done a magnificent job of becoming the world's best wing, and it's fair to say he's well along the track to becoming the world's best dad too.
Consider what the All Blacks wing has been through of late as he's gone about his business in rugby's test arena with consummate style.
Jane's middle son, Tennyson, 2, has just had surgery to remove fluid and pockets of infection from his lung, and it's been a harrowing time as they've dealt with the latest illness in the family. Oldest son Cassius has tuberous sclerosis, a rare genetic condition, since he was 15 months old and receives regular treatment for that.
So Jane has been spending the first part of the week at home helping wife Amie with the family responsibilities (they also have a baby daughter, Prisseis), and then joins the All Blacks in camp as they prepare for their Rugby Championship obligations.
“He's out [of hospital] now, but was in there just under a week,” said Jane prior to last night's test against the Springboks at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
“It was a bit more of a serious operation than we thought. It has been tough but I'm pretty good at separating personal from rugby because I have to.”
Jane said a stint at home taking care of his children while Amie was at the hospital afforded him fresh admiration for the stay-at-home caregivers of this world.
“It's tough being a stay-at-home dad, you've got to do everything. One of the kids gets a temperature and you've got to try to figure out ways to get it down. That's mummy's job but she wasn't here.
“I had to get them lunches, baths, dinners, do the washing, clean the house . . . I take my hat off to the real stay-at-home mums and dads who really look after their kids. I'm doing it now and then all right, but a couple of days of it got me.” But Jane is clearly doing a fine job of compartmentalising his life. When he's at home, he's in dad mode. But as soon as he joins the All Blacks he flicks the switch, and continues to produce some consistent, impressive, rugby.
“I said to Fozzie [assistant coach Ian Foster] the other day, I just can't wait to get back into the environment and just worry about rugby because it was a full-on few days.” Jane admits he's in a pretty good place with his rugby. Now in his fifth season with the All Blacks, the 29-year-old is arguably the most complete wing in the world game. He's near faultless under the high ball, sharp in almost everything he does on attack and a very efficient defender. In other words, whatever he does, he does it well.
“I'm enjoying myself,” he says with a satisfied grin.
“I'm always trying to get better, but I'm comfortable - comfortable playing the wing spot, comfortable with the role I have and comfortable with knowing my own game.
“When I go out on the field I know what I want to do, and I'm pretty relaxed which makes it good. I still want to compete and be better than the guy I'm marking and I still want to be in that No 14 jersey, so I've just got to keep working hard.”
Jane felt so settled with both the All Blacks and the re-energised Hurricanes he re-signed through until the end of 2014.
“I still want to be an All Black,” he adds. “And the Hurricanes are going good - there's a good culture in the team, so I decided to stay there. I'm just enjoying my rugby in general.” The talented ball-player also has a theory on some of the stodgy rugby in the test arena.
“If both teams want to play positive rugby you're going to see points being scored. But if one team shuts up shop and plays negative rugby just to hold the score down, you might get a win but it's not too enjoyable.
“It's not good to play in so I can presume it's not bloody good to watch. You just need both teams wanting to play positively.”
And while we've got him, it's interesting to get Jane's thoughts on the recent cases of social media abuse. Jane has 67,522 followers on Twitter, and keeps them well posted on his daily musings.
“It shouldn't be used to bully people, but how are you going to stop it? People like to have a crack at you.” He has a firm policy on “the haters”.
“I like to call a few out, and say some things back to them. Then you find your other followers start slaying them. Some of it's fun but if it gets taken too far and gets personal that's a big difference.
“I like to have fun with people, but every now and then I say something weird or get myself into trouble. But that's just me being me, I get out there and have a bit of fun and talk to people.”
- Sunday Star Times
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