Flanker Sam Cane will captain the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship opener against Argentina next weekend, less than a year after fracturing his neck in South Africa.
On Friday, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed Cane will take the captain’s armband for the July 21 test in the absence of Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock, who are both being rested after winning a Super Rugby three-peat with the Crusaders.
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The news completes a remarkable return to rugby for Cane, who hasn't played for the All Blacks since his horrific injury in Pretoria last October.
The injury forced the 27-year-old to undergo surgery in South Africa. Afterwards, he thanked the "circumference and strength" of his neck for saving him from paralysis.
In May, he made his return to rugby when he came off the bench against the Blues at Eden Park.
Cane has captained the All Blacks on two previous occasions, against Namibia in the 2015 World Cup and against Italy the following year.
Highlanders stalwart Ben Smith will be the vice-captain for the test.
Meanwhile, uncapped duo Braydon Ennor and Sevu Reece and one-test wing George Bridge are the only Crusaders players who will travel with the squad.
The rest of the Crusaders' All Blacks will remain in New Zealand and have the week off, before re-grouping with rest of the team for the test against the Springboks on July 27 in Wellington.
Midfielder Sonny Bill Williams will also be on the plane despite a hamstring injury, although Hansen said there is no guarantee he'll play.
Elsewhere, Highlanders flanker Shannon Frizell will stay behind with a cut over a joint.
Join us on July 21 for live updates of the All Blacks v Argentina Rugby Championship clash