SAM CANE looks set to make his debut off the bench when the All Blacks take on Ireland in Christchurch this Saturday night.
With Adam Thomson replacing the crocked Victor Vito at blindside, Cane will provide loose forward cover on the bench at AMI Stadium.
Thomson’s inclusion is the only change to the side which hammered Ireland 42-10 at Eden Park, with coach Steve Hansen showing faith in the men who did the business last Saturday.
It had been reported yesterday that Ma’a Nonu would team up with Conrad Smith in the midfield, but Hansen has opted to keep Sonny Bill Williams at second five and let Nonu recharge his batteries for another week.
Hooker Hika Elliot remains as cover for Andrew Hore, with Keven Mealamu, as had already been signalled, being held back a week to recover fully from his calf injury.
The third test between the two sides is in Hamilton next Saturday.
All Blacks: Israel Dagg, Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Adam Thomson, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock
Reserves: Hika Elliot, Ben Franks, Sam Cane, Ali Williams, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith
There are plenty of mouth-watering clashes on offer this weekend.
Which player was unlucky to miss out on the All Blacks’ wider training squad?
Gordon Tietjens’ success in sevens is unrivalled and should place him in the same coaching league as Sir Alex Ferguson.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen named a 38-man training squad and there are a couple of oversights worth highlighting