Super Rugby Aotearoa: All Blacks skipper Sam Cane bears weight of winless Chiefs season

Seven games, zero wins and a mountain of pressure, but nothing is dampening the Chiefs' spirits. 

And no-one has felt the weight of expectation more than Sam Cane.

Since taking on the All Blacks captaincy before Super Rugby Aotearoa began, Cane admits he's been surprised at the amount of scrutiny that's already come with the role.

"I probably hadn't thought that in Super Rugby... you know we haven't even started the All Blacks season and we don't know when the first test is, but there's a little bit of heat coming already," says the Chiefs skipper.

But he's gone a long way to silencing those critics with recent performances.

Ironically, Cane thinks the growing noise around his form, has helped the openside flanker rediscover it.

"It probably helped narrow my focus back into this team," he says. "To be honest, you sort of hear the noise, but I've learned to have a bit more of a thick skin and realise the people's opinions that matter to me are in this circle."

Coach Warren Gatland is quick to defend his captain, admitting the Chiefs run of losses hasn't helped silence those critics, many of whom expect the All Blacks captain to be at his best - week in, week out. 

"We haven't made it easy for him in terms of his role and that All Blacks role, and that makes it a little bit tougher," says Gatland.

But both are determined to drown out the noise and end their season with a solitary win against the Hurricanes on Saturday.

"Hopefully, we can get a few technical aspects of our game right and we'll get across the line," says Cane.

"We've got to go down there with some real Chiefs pride and some Chiefs mana," echoes Gatland.

The load on Cane's shoulders may lighten in his next outing if they do. 

Join us at 8pm Saturday for live updates of the Hurricanes v Chiefs Super Rugby Aotearoa clash

Super Rugby Aotearoa: All Blacks skipper Sam Cane bears weight of winless Chiefs season