VIDEO: Cane to join exclusive Chiefs club
REACTION: All Blacks and Chiefs openside Sam Cane is set to join an exclusive club this Friday against the Highlanders, becoming just the fifth player in Chiefs history to play 100 times for the Waikato-based franchise.
“For whatever reason, the Chiefs have only got four centurions compared to some of the other teams going round,” Cane said. “And those four players are pretty special here at this Chiefs club, so to be parked up alongside them will be a pretty special achievement.”
Cane will join centurions Liam Messam (166), Hika Elliot (117), Tanerau Latimer (109) and Stephen Donald (104) in the Chiefs 100 club.
“I was just a boy when I came in, wide-eyed and learning and trying to soak it all up,” Cane said. “I was pretty fortunate to have Tanerau here, learning off and looking up to, and then competing for the same jersey.”
He debuted in 2011 against the Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg after being called up from the wide training squad to attend the tour of South Africa.
“I remember it pretty clearly,” he said.
“I probably only got between five and 10 minutes, and being a young 19-year-old I went out there and ran round and tried to attend every ruck, and being at altitude, five minutes later I had nothing left in my legs. So I learnt from that one.”
Cane was apart of the back-to-back title winning Chiefs squads in 2012-13 and has since gone on to play 53 times for the All Blacks, recently becoming the preferred starting openside following the retirement of legend Richie McCaw.
“When I first started out my strengths were my continuity, my ball skills, my support play,” he said. “And as I’ve got older it’s changed to more trying to have a physical presence. I suppose that just comes with age and also with what they want from loose forwards – at this level, but also international level – so I’ve had to look at ways to do that, but I’ve enjoyed the ride.”
“I’m only 26, so I don’t feel that old,” he said. “But if you look at past Chiefs teams – 2011, 2012, there’s only a couple of us left.
“With professional rugby these days, not everyone ends up, for whatever reason, getting to play for the team that they grew up supporting. So I consider myself pretty fortunate.”