All Blacks v Ireland: England pundit Stuart Barnes attacks Sam Cane ‘responsibility’ after first Test victory
“Savea, when he does them, hits harder. He shifts the winning line.
“He also has a fabulous pair of hands. His acceleration through the air during lineouts, combined with those soft hands, is a key part of the All Blacks set piece.
“Savea, 28, would not have missed this tackle. Above all, he transforms defense into an aggressive attack with the dynamism of his work in the tight and the tackle.
“By contrast, the 30-year-old Cane isn’t moving a ruck, or pressuring the ball carrier with the kind of jaw-dropping blow he himself suffered to Ringrose’s shoulders earlier in the game. .”
Barnes, who played 10 times for England during a nine-year international career as a top-five, highlights the lack of power in Ireland’s loose attacking trio, saying Cane ‘would struggle to compete’ with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi.
He adds that All Blacks manager Ian Foster needs to act fast if he is to find the right third-row combination for next year’s World Cup in France – one that does not feature the co-captain of the Chiefs.
“On the evidence of yesterday’s game, if New Zealand are to find their best defensive mix ahead of next year’s World Cup, the tough call must be made, with Cane either relegated to the bench or dropped completely. .
“Cane may be New Zealand’s unsung hero. The problem is there just isn’t enough to sing about.”
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