All Black and Chiefs flanker Sam Cane is set to return to the playing field after he suffered a fractured neck in the final Rugby Championship game against the Springboks in Pretoria last year. During the intense match between the two sides, Cane walked off the field after suffering the injury and the All Blacks went on to win the game 32-30.
It was later confirmed by medical staff that Cane had suffered a broken neck, however he was lucky not to suffer any nerve damage. Cane later commented that the Dr’s had told him that the strength of his neck had prevented the injury from leaving him with nerve damage which would have ended his career. Cane underwent surgery and spent a period of recovery in South Africa before being cleared to travel home.
Cane was named as co-captain of the Chiefs for the 2019 season, alongside Brodie Retallick, who is currently also injured. It was confirmed by the club however that he wasn’t expected on the playing field until the last few rounds of Super Rugby.
After completing his rehab, the player commenced with light jogging in February and has slowly progressed through his training and return to play protocol. A few weeks ago the player re-joined the squad in training with a reduced contact work load and it seems he has come through unscathed.
Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper stated that Cane could make the squad for the Blues game this weekend as he is now part of the selection mix, however it is more likely that the player will return to the match day 23 the week thereafter. He stated that the player’s recovery has gone very well and that the team is excited for the player to turn out for them again.
With New Zealand’s World Cup campaign set to get underway against the Springboks on the 27th of July the player will be eager to get some mileage in the domestic season to be in with a shot of turning out for the team in Japan. Head Coach Steve Hansen will also be watching eagerly as Cane is a valuable leader in the squad and with some major injury concerns already, this will come as a relief.
Written by: Nicholas Halsey
image credit: Stuff.co.nz