Sam Cane will reportedly be replaced as All Blacks captain for the upcoming mini-tour of South Africa as New Zealand look to respond to the historic home series loss to Ireland.
According to the Otago Daily Times, an inside source has confirmed that Cane will have the responsibilities as All Blacks captain taken away from him for the two Tests against the Springboks in the Rugby Championship.
Instead, veteran lock Sam Whitelock is expected to be confirmed as the new captain when Ian Foster names an updated squad on Friday.
This follows a dismal run of form which has seen the All Blacks lose four of their last five Tests and their first home series since 1994.
Foster’s record of eight defeats in 24 matches since succeeding Steve Hansen in 2020 has had pundits calling for him to be replaced with just 14 months until the Rugby World Cup kicks off in France.
While New Zealand Rugby see a change in coaching staff as a drastic move that could destabilise the current squad of players, they acknowledge that something has to be done to shake up the misfiring squad.
According to the report, there is a view that Cane is no longer the right choice as captain and that Whitelock has the respect and experience needed to take the reins against the Boks.
The 80-capped Cane, who has captained the All Blacks 13 times, could still keep his place in the starting lineup.
In further changes, Crusaders No 8 Cullen Grace and Highlanders prop Ethan de Groot are expected to be added to the squad, while Joe Schmidt will fly out to South Africa after being promoted to more of a director of rugby role.
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