REPORT: All Blacks to dump captain for Springboks tests?
SPOTLIGHT: Sam Cane could be dumped as All Blacks captain, according to reports in New Zealand.
However head coach Ian Foster is expected to survive with former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt given a greater input into the running of the team.
The Otago Daily Times is claiming that Cane could be replaced as captain for the Rugby Championship opening two games with South Africa by veteran lock Sam Whitelock following the test series loss to Ireland.
Schmidt, currently an All Blacks selector, is believed to be taking more of a director of rugby role in response to the two defeats by an Ireland side he helped create.
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New Zealand Rugby was expected to announce a Rugby Championship squad yesterday, but that was delayed by the review of the team’s recent poor performances.
In six years under New Zealand-born Schmidt, Ireland won three Six Nations Championships, including the Grand Slam in 2018.
Ireland were ranked number 1 in the World for the first time in their history in 2019 – a position they have recaptured after the series triumph over the All Blacks.
According to the New Zealand Herald sacking Foster and his fellow coaches would be a costly exercise in excess of NZ$2 million in pay-outs. The third test defeat by Ireland in Wellington was the All Blacks’ fourth loss from the past five tests and their first home series defeat in 27 years.
Despite the public backlash over the All Blacks’ poor form, a mass clear-out of the coaches a year ahead of the Rugby World Cup in France was deemed to be too destabilising for a squad that must now take on the Springboks, the current Rugby World Cup holders, who have just beaten Wales in a three-match series.
Schmidt left his role as World Rugby’s director of rugby to spend more time with his family in New Zealand having been appointed in 2020 after leaving the Ireland job.
By Chris Jones, Rugbypass