Flanker Sam Cane has been named as New Zealand’s new captain for when Test rugby starts up again, but it’s quite hard to believe that just two years ago he suffered a serious neck injury.
Playing against the Springboks in Pretoria, Cane went in to clear out Francois Louw but got himself in an awkward position, causing immediate damage to the vertebrae in his neck.
The result was a fracture and meant he needed immediate surgery.
While it seemed extremely scary at the time, the prognosis was positive, with estimations that he would be back in action in as little as three months.
“We have every confidence he will do well with the operation and like any fracture it will probably take about three months for the bone to get strong and we’ll take it step by step,” Tony Page said.
“The operation is really just to keep everything in the right place so the bone can heal on it own accord. Many sportsmen have had this injury as have people in other walks of life and they usually make a good recovery.”
The emergency surgery found there was no nerve damage and a gradual rehabilitation culminated in a return to contact work.
He then made his return 7 months later, in May 2019, for the Chiefs in Super Rugby.
Now, in 2020, he is the All Blacks’ man at the helm, a superb achievement for the 28-year-old.