Rugby World Cup: All Blacks urge support for captain Sam Cane after red card in final loss to Springboks

Sam Cane doesn't have to look far for support in his own ranks, with All Blacks teammates urging New Zealand to stand behind their captain in his darkest moment.

As the All Blacks fell to a 12-11 loss in the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa, Cane became the first man shown a red card in a tournament decider, when he hit Springboks centre Jesse Kriel high and made contact with the head.

Cane's sending off was one of four dismissals - two on each side - throughout the final.

Sam Cane.
Sam Cane. Photo credit: Getty Images

Teammate Shannon Frizell, Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi and winger Cheslin Kolbe were also shown cards, but their yellows did not have the same lasting impact of Cane's, which was upgraded to red.

In a tournament that's seen Cane largely redeem himself in the eyes of All Blacks faithful, especially with a vital effort against Ireland in the quarter-final, the red card came at the worst possible moment.

In the eyes of his teammates, faith and confidence in Cane as captain, as a leader and as a person has not - and will not - be shaken.

"He'll need a lot [of support]," said hooker Codie Taylor. "I'd never question that man, he's our captain.  

"He puts his body on the line every week. I know there'll probably be a lot of negative comments coming out about Sammy and what happened, but I just want to say, I want New Zealand to stand behind him.  

"Rugby's a game that you've got to be clean in these days. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong side of that.

"Hopefully, we can get around him and make him still enjoy what's been an awesome tournament. Hopefully, he gets another crack one day."

Cane says being sent off in a World Cup final is something "I'm going to have to live with forever", but centre Rieko Ioane insists the final wasn't decided by the actions of his captain.

"The game wasn't won or lost with Sammy's red card," he said. "We still back Sammy to the death.

"We've seen that. Everyone in New Zealand should be proud of the way that he's led our boys.

"We have the utmost respect for him. One moment doesn't define a man.

"Although he feels as though he has to carry that burden, the boys are still hugely proud of him and all his efforts. Tonight wasn't the night, but there'll be other moments."