Rugby World Cup: All Blacks to take no risks with Sam Cane, as captain to likely miss Namibia match

The All Blacks will likely be without their skipper for the second Rugby World Cup match in a row, as they take a cautious approach with his ongoing back issues.  

Sam Cane didn't train with the team in Lyon on Tuesday, and they don't appear keen on taking any risks with him so early in the tournament.  

But while they're likely to be without Cane, there's better news for others in the casualty ward.  

Jordie Barrett was up and running and taking a far more involved role at training, and is determined to feature against Namibia in Toulouse on Saturday.

Sam Cane.
Sam Cane. Photo credit: Getty Images

Barrett feels his knee is improving and will continue to take it day by day to ensure his knee holds firm, in what's been a frustrating beginning to his second World Cup.  

"I got through today really well which is positive and got through some running," he said. "I didn't do any running last week all  

"You want to play every test and be available all the time. So [your] natural inclination is you want to be out there but it's not all doom and gloom - it's a long tournament."  

It's clearly not doom and gloom for brother Scott either, who was quick to allay any fears over a possible hand injury.  

"I think Ollie's ruled me out for the tournament by the sounds," he joked. "The hand's fine, rugby's a contact sport."  

Sam Cane's involvement against Namibia looks bleak though, after he took taking no part in today's training.    

"We've got to get him right and now's the chance to do that," said forwards coach Jason Ryan. "We won't be taking any risks with skip because he's important to us."   

While Cane's likely absence from Saturday's second pool match against Namibia is a blow, it's hardly a crisis point so early in the tournament.  

With or without their skipper, improvement on performance is paramount, and a familiar face is back in camp to help right some wrongs - Sir Steve Hansen.  

"I stay in contact with him all the time," Ryan added. "He's got a beautiful eye on him, he drops some good one-liners in.   

"But he helps the coaches and wants us to be better."

One area the All Blacks need to be better in is their discipline, and it was a theme that emerged throughout the opening weekend. 

Eleven yellow cards were dished out in the opening round, one which was upgraded to red for England's Tom Curry.

The All Blacks are aware margins are fine, and Ryan is confident the forward pack can improve on their shortcomings.

"We'll be right, we have a lot of confidence in the boys," he said. "I know we're going to front up when we need to."

With the All Blacks already in must-win territory, they have little choice but to do that.