Sam Cane was left beaming with pride in Johannesburg after the All Blacks upset the odds to defeat the Springboks 35-23 in Saturday’s round two Rugby Championship match. New Zealand came into the fixture with their backs to wall following the loss of five of their last six matches.
Just a week ago they were defeated 10-26 by the Springboks in Mbombela and there were fears that another heavy beating was on the cards for Ian Foster’s team. However, Cane insisted in his post-game flash interview last weekend that only “small margins” needed to be fixed for the All Blacks to get things right and he was proven right at Emirates Airlines Park.
“Proud is an understatement, mate,” he told SuperSport in his post-game sideline interview following the win that allowed the All Blacks to retain the Freedom Cup and pierce the massive pressure that had built up around them.
“Through adversity, it really challenges your character and this group has got plenty of character. It’s never been a question of how much we care or how much we want it. We just needed to get a few parts of our game right and yeah, a massive challenge coming here, one of the toughest places in the world to play and the group stepped up massively.
“Hugely proud. I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been supporting us, particularly the last month which has been pretty challenging. We feel all that support and jeez, it means a lot. “
Asked what the difference was between their round two performance and what materialized in last weekend’s round one loss, captain Cane added: “Look, we were a lot better at the breakdown tonight and we dealt with the box kicks, the contestables, a lot better .
“Set-piece was good, we defended the maul really well so lots of little parts of our game which is what Test footy is about, getting little parts of your game right time and time angina so you can build some pressure. Massively stoked. “
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