Rugby World Cup: Sam Cane's admiration for deputy Ardie Savea as injury return confirmed

Even after missing the start of the Rugby World Cup through injury, All Blacks captain Sam Cane knew his side were in good hands with Ardie Savea.  

On the eve of the World Cup, and with the All Blacks facing a huge ask against hosts France, Cane succumbed to a back injury that's so far seen him not start in any of his side's three pool matches.  

Defeat to Les Bleus and victory over Namibia came without Cane, while the captain played off the bench in last weekend's huge win over Italy.  

In Cane's absence, 29-year-old Savea led the side admirably, and was named man-of-the-match for the All Blacks against the Azzurri in Lyon.

Ardie Savea and Sam Cane.
Ardie Savea and Sam Cane. Photo credit: Getty Images

On Friday, Cane will finally make his first start of the World Cup, named to lead the side for their pool play finale against Uruguay, needing victory to advance to the quarter-finals, where Ireland likely awaits.  

At the same time, Savea will enjoy a week's rest, not named in the matchday 23 for the first time this tournament.  

And while Cane will take the field without Savea, the captain shared what he's learned from watching his deputy lead.  

"We've got a really good relationship," said Cane. "We've played a lot of footy together now, there's a huge amount of trust between both of us.  

"We've probably got slightly different leadership styles. But getting us back in the team together will complement each other really well.  

"He's had to step in a few times now, so he's a lot more comfortable in the role than a couple of years ago. He's shown that by how he led the group, and how he played in the weekend was outstanding.  

"We're always learning off each other. We've got a good relationship, we have good conversations.  

"He's awesome to play with."  

Cane is one of multiple changes for the All Blacks, who balance continuity with opportunity before a prospective quarter-final.  

After being forced to watch from the sidelines as the All Blacks battled to keep their tournament alive after the loss to France, Cane is one of many players out to prove their worth in the race for spots in coach Ian Foster's first XV. 

"I'm very ready, I'm very excited," Cane said. "It's been a bit of a road bump for me personally to start the World Cup.  

"I'm just really excited and grateful to be back. I'm looking forward to training this arvo to test things out under a bit of heat and pressure from the boys.  

"I feel a lot more confident heading into the game. I can't wait."  

Join Newshub from 8am Friday for live updates of the All Blacks v Uruguay