Cane more comfortable as captain

Date published: November 11 2016

New Zealand's captain against Italy, flanker Sam Cane, feels more settled in the role as he prepared to lead his country in Rome.

Cane first captained the reigning world champions in their win over Namibia during last year's Rugby World Cup pool stages.

A regular captain for the Chiefs in Super Rugby, the 24-year-old from Rotorua sounded quietly confident when he addressed the media in Rome on Friday.

"I feel a lot more ready and prepared this time and a lot more comfortable in my own leadership style and ability as well," Cane said.

"The key for me will be to draw from others… making sure we are all contributing. All of the weight is not on my shoulders."

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has opted for multiple changes, 12 in total, meaning a fresh side a week on from New Zealand's first loss of the year against Ireland in Chicago.

Two new caps are named in the bench in Highlanders hooker Liam Coltman and Blues wing Rieko Ioane.

"It's almost a whole new team we are running out," Cane added.

"It's important that we get this right because a lot of the areas that Ireland threatened and almost exposed us on are strengths of Italy as well," the flanker added.

"They will challenge us up front."