Injured Richie McCaw: Sam Cane will step up
Sidelined All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw says he's confident his understudy Sam Cane will rise to what will be the biggest challenge of his young career.
McCaw fronted the media today for the first time since tearing his medial ligament in Saturday night's 28-13 victory over Argentina in Hamilton.
He's out for about a month, though he admitted he's got his sights on a potential return for the Rugby Championship rematch against the Boks in Johannesburg on October 5.
McCaw said he was gutted to have to miss the first clash of the year against the undefeated Springboks at Eden Park on Saturday.
Nevertheless, he had no doubts about the quality of the guy stepping into his boots.
"It's going to be one of the biggest test matches of the year," said McCaw at an appearance on the Eden Park No 2 ground.
"The way they played on Saturday night we realise we're in for a huge challenge.
"He's [Cane] had a good taste of test footy already. I think Saturday will be probably a step-up from what he's experienced before but I'm sure he'll do a good job and the guys around him will make it easy for him."
McCaw confirmed he has a grade two tear, with a recovery time of about four to five weeks.
The third Bledisloe in Dunedin on October 19 was the definite target, though he would be working furiously to make the Rugby Championship finale, he said.
He also admitted it would be a tough watch on Saturday night as the championship's two undefeated sides squared off.
"Especially when you know they're playing pretty good rugby at the moment," he said of the in-form Boks who smashed the Wallabies 38-12 in Brisbane.
"The attitude of the guys around this morning sums up what the week is going to be about - you get excited by these sort of challenges.
"I've been lucky over the years and haven't missed too many really, but I've got to say it's one I'd love to be playing in."
The crocked skipper said his role this week would be minimal as he launched his own rehab programme.
"Today reviewing the game and looking forward to this week you want to help out as you normally would. But as the week goes on the guys doing the job on the field, they're the ones that need to drive the bus from there.
"We've got plenty of guys that have either captained the team or been around for a while. It's up to them to carry on doing what they do. Back in June Kieran [Read] was in charge with those guys. He's done it before and I'm sure he'll be fine."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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