Sam Cane urges New Zealand Rugby to follow Springboks’ overseas policy example

Colin Newboult
Sam Cane and Richie Mo'unga ahead of the World Rugby Awards in 2023.

Sam Cane and Richie Mo'unga ahead of the World Rugby Awards in 2023.

Experienced flanker Sam Cane believes that New Zealand Rugby should review their policy which prevents the All Blacks from selecting foreign-based players.

The back-row is currently on a short-term deal in Japan, which prohibits him from turning out for the national team while in that country.

As it happens, Cane will return to New Zealand prior to their next international, so he won’t miss any Test matches, but that is not the case for the likes of Richie Mo’unga and Aaron Smith.

Mo’unga is the most significant departure, given that he has signed a three-year deal in Asia and is under 30.

Springboks’ example

The All Blacks’ openside flanker therefore thinks that they can learn lessons from South Africa, who have won the last two Rugby World Cups despite changing their overseas policy.

“A lot of the Springboks have shown the ability to play in League One and go back to international rugby fairly quickly and continue to play their best,” Cane told reporters.

Cane believes that performing well in Japan, allied by good performances in the black of New Zealand when returning, could convince the governing body to change their mind.

“The challenge for us who are on the shorter-term deals in the hope of playing international rugby again is that we play really well here,” he said.

“Should we get the opportunity to represent the All Blacks again, we’ve got to show we’ve improved our games. If not, kick off where we left off.

“If we can do that, maybe that conversation can be had with New Zealand Rugby, but I can also see the other side.

“The fact of having experienced players to bring through young guys in the New Zealand game is equally important.

“Obviously a lot to consider and well above my pay grade.”

Playing alongside fellow world stars

Japan has especially become a home for some of South Africa’s top players, with Cheslin Kolbe the latest to move to the country.

The Springboks’ superstar wing will be featuring alongside Cane for Tokyo Sungoliath after spending the past six years in France.

“It will be awesome to play with Cheslin, it will be awesome to have him on my team instead of running around trying to catch him,” the All Blacks captain said.

“He’s someone I’ve admired as a rugby player for a long time, so it’s been awesome to get to know him and I’m excited to take to the field with him should we get the opportunity.

“I’m excited about playing. Hopefully Dane Coles is playing for Kubota (Spears) in round one so he can go up against us.”

READ MORE: All Blacks captain Sam Cane reveals ‘long chat’ with Scott Robertson before leaving New Zealand