Crusaders outside back Will Jordan is the latest member of the All Blacks squad to return a positive test for Covid-19 ahead of their Test series against Ireland.
The speedster joins David Havili, Jack Goodhue, and several members of the coaching staff, including boss Ian Foster and assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod, in isolation after the group tested positive for the virus.
Former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has been drafted in to steer the ship in Foster’s absence as the first Test is only days away.
“It’s terrible timing for everyone who got Covid. But there is a lot of depth and competition for places, I don’t know if Will was going to be starting or not, but I’d say he was a pretty good chance,” Cane told Stuff.
“It just means someone else will step up in his place and it’s another opportunity for someone. Hopefully Covid doesn’t knock him round too much and realistically he’s probably only a chance for the third Test now.”
Cane is impressed by the way the squad has responded whilst praising Schmidt’s influence since being called on.
“The team has been really impressive. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to it throughout Super Rugby,” he said. “We’ve just been rolling with the punches. Obviously it’s not ideal, but in terms of disruption, surprisingly there hasn’t been too much at all.
“The coaches are stepping up, and we’ve got a really experienced leadership group now – one I trust immensely. We’ve got guys in the forward pack, the likes of Brodie [Retallick] and Sam Whitelock taking charge of things there, and Beaudy (Beauden Barrett) runs a pretty good cutter out the back, so the guys are just stepping up and it’s been a good first few days.
“How lucky are we to be able to call on someone like Joe Schmidt. He’s been awesome.”
Schmidt will become an All Blacks selector for the Rugby Championship, and Cane is seeing the value of “wise” eyes in the camp.
“He’s only just come in this morning (Tuesday), and will only be in Tuesday and Thursday to help out on the training park,” he added. “He’s helping with defence predominantly, but it’s nice to have some wise eyes looking over things.”
The former Ireland coach has been working mainly with the backs and is unlikely to change a lot considering the first Test is on July 2.
“He was predominantly helping out the backs… I haven’t actually worked with him on the training park,” said Cane.
“We’ve got our structures that [defence coach] Scott McLeod has set up. I can’t imagine Joe is going come in and change anything about that.
“He’s about lending another pair of eyes, chipping in and being able to coach on the run at training and give instant feedback to players. Nothing that’s new.”
Foster and Plumtree have been keeping tabs on training but have largely left it up to the staff on the ground as it is difficult to coach virtually, according to Cane.
“The coaches (Foster and Plumtree) will zoom in but won’t have any input [in discussions]. They’re there to keep an eye on things, but it’s hard to get a feel and coach when you’re not in the room itself. We all agree it’s best to allow people who are here to steer the ship.”