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All Black Cane keen for Hamilton start
By Sean Martin
15:22 AEST Sun Jun 17 2012

New All Blacks flanker Sam Cane is putting his hand up to start the third Test against Ireland after a head-knock put fellow loose forward Kieran Read in doubt for Hamilton.

Cane made his Test debut in Saturday's nerve-wracking last-minute 22-19 win in Christchurch after coming on at halftime for the injured Read.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said on Sunday Read would be monitored throughout the week but if there were any question marks over his fitness the Crusader would not be risked.

After an assured 40-minute display, which got the tick of approval from Hansen, Cane said he was eager to start at the home ground of his Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs.

"I'll back myself with a start," said the 20-year-old after the All Blacks needed Daniel Carter's late drop goal to edge past an inspired Ireland on a bitterly cold night.

Cane relished his first taste of Test rugby after getting the summons moments before the start of the second half.

"They (Ireland) were tough, it was physical, but it was awesome."

Despite the closeness of the match, Cane says there was a calmness on the field in the closing minutes.

"I was really surprised. There was a lot of composure out there, those older fellas set that tone. I felt really comfortable out there and we just needed to get the ball down the right end," he said.

Cane's Chiefs teammate Liam Messam has been called into the squad for the Test after missing selection for the All Blacks' two pre-series training camps.

Veteran lock Ali Williams, a second-half substitute in Christchurch, will miss the match after being told he needs surgery to repair damage to his cartilage in his right knee.

He is expected to be sidelined for up to eight weeks.

It means Crusaders lock Luke Romano is poised to become the fifth newcomer blooded by the All Blacks in this series.


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