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NZ's Cane awed by tilt at rugby history

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/10/2016 Angelo Risso

<span style="color:#666666;font-family:'Segoe UI', 'Segoe WP', Arial, sans-serif;font-size:13px;">24-year-old Chiefs gun Sam Cane has been around the All Blacks camp since 2012, earmarked as successor to legendary skipper Richie McCaw.</span> © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images 24-year-old Chiefs gun Sam Cane has been around the All Blacks camp since 2012, earmarked as successor to legendary skipper Richie McCaw. Almost 5000 rugby Test matches have transpired between tier-one nations since William Webb Ellis' fabled 1823 dash.

And yet, in all that time, no side has ever won 18 games in a row.

Until, possibly, Saturday.

The All Blacks have a chance to etch themselves into the history books when they take on Australia at Eden Park for the third Bledisloe dead rubber.

A victory will give the world champions their 18th straight Test win, having gone unbeaten since last year's Rugby Championship defeat in Sydney.

The All Blacks have been here before, having blown opportunities to clinch their 18th win in 1969 and, more recently, 2014.

But for openside Sam Cane, the very fact of being within touching distance of the record is awe-inspiring.

"Every time you go out as an All Black you want to win, and that's a big driving factor," Cane told reporters on Tuesday.

"But to think no team in that time has ever won 18 on the trot is pretty unbelievable."

The 24-year-old Chiefs gun has been around the All Blacks camp since 2012, earmarked as successor to legendary skipper Richie McCaw.

Yet for the past six weeks, Cane has been forced to watch from the sidelines with a hamstring injury sustained against Argentina in Hamilton.

He said it was an unusual experience watching his teammates from the sofa as they cruised through their tour of Argentina and South Africa.

But it gave him an even better appreciation of what the side was achieving.

"It's tough to watch when it's going well because you'd love to be part of it," Cane said.

"But you also sit back and watch from a spectator's point of view and enjoy it and think, well, that was awesome."

Cane said his hamstring had pulled up well after a full week of training, with All Blacks physios to assess his condition in the coming days.

He was unsure if he'd make the matchday squad but said he'd done everything he could to be ready.

Assistant coach Ian Foster said Cane was clearly training hard but still a step away from match fitness.

"He had a good running week this week, so now we've just got to do some more functional, game-like tests on him," Foster said.

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