Sam Cane to captain All Blacks in Rugby Championship Test
Last Updated: 12/07/19 8:17am
New Zealand flanker Sam Cane will captain the All Blacks in their opening Rugby Championship Test against Argentina next week.
Cane was named as captain after it was announced Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock are set to be rested for the match, which is live on Sky Sports on July 20.
It is the 27-year-old's first Test since he suffered a broken neck in a match against South Africa in October.
He has captained the All Blacks twice before, against Namibia at the 2015 World Cup and against Italy in 2016.
Argentina vs New Zealand
July 20, 2019, 7:00pm
Regular captain Read and his usual understudy Whitelock are among members of the Crusaders team who are being rested after playing in the Super Rugby final.
Crusaders trio Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece and George Bridge will all travel to Argentina with the squad.
Centre Sonny Bill Williams will also travel, though he is not expected to play against the Pumas because of a hamstring injury.
"He is a shot to play but we're not going to risk him," coach Steve Hansen said.
"As much as we want him to play and he needs game time, if he's not 100 per cent, there's no point putting him out there and him reinjuring it.
"We'll make that decision next week."
Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani Laumape are likely to start against the Pumas, with Ennor to provide cover in midfield.
Hansen added the Pumas would be confident they could beat the All Blacks for the first time, with the side mostly made up of players from Super Rugby finalists Jaguares.
"They're a big pack, they've got a lot of confidence, and they've just had a little bit of adversity so will be somewhat more determined," he said.
"It would be a great way to get rid of the pain of losing the final if they beat us."
The All Blacks also tend to be slow starters in their international season and with the side playing just five tests before the Rugby World Cup starts in Japan in two months, Hansen was keen they hit the ground running.
"We're always a bit rusty in the first two or three games of the season," Hansen said.
"But we're excited about what we're doing, we're excited about the people we've got doing it and the team is going to be pretty different because the big guns from the Crusaders are staying home.
"It's giving people an opportunity to express themselves."