Mbombela - All Blacks captain Sam Cane says the remedy for healing his ailing team is to keep matters simple and to avoid trying to fix too much too soon when they open their Rugby Championship challenge against the Springboks in Nelspruit on Saturday.
The All Blacks are nestled in an exclusive sports resort at White River, 20km from Nelspruit and Cane says that being cocooned in a resort that has a training field outside their rooms is just what the doctor ordered.
“It is good to be back in South Africa,” Cane grinned looking around at the rocky outcrops of the Lowveld. “It has been a while for New Zealand teams and we have 10 guys with us who have never been here before. We used to take it for granted when we were coming here twice a year (with Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship).
Regarding arresting a decline that has seen the All Blacks lose four of their last five games, Cane said: “Outside looking in it might seem we have a lot to fix but inside the camp, we have a couple of clear focuses — a big one is fixing the bedrock issues of a forward pack if you get those big things right, it also fixes a lot of the other things.
“I don’t think there are heaps wrong with how we are playing,” he continued. “If you look at our last defeat (to Ireland) we lost it on two rolling maul tries, which is unacceptable for an All Blacks pack, so to fix something like that is one bedrock sorted out.”
To that end, Cane said new forwards coach Jason Ryan has been impressive.
“Jason has been outstanding, he has come in and taken control straight away. He knows what he wants out of our pack and we feel we are making good strides.”
Cane said that Test matches between these two countries are the toughest he ash experienced.
“These games bring out the best in both teams. They are the toughest I have ever been involved in, and you walk off the field knowing you had to give everything to survive.”
Looking at the Boks, Cane said: “We saw from their series against Wales that they have an incredible amount of depth and we know what we are going to get — a confrontational physical battle. There will be big men coming around the corners and running hard, clearing hard, plus skillful backs.
“They are the full package, no doubt.”