Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rugby: Cane delighted to give back

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Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane is looking forward to next week's road trip to visit the team's support base. Photo / Getty Images
Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane is looking forward to next week's road trip to visit the team's support base. Photo / Getty Images

Sam Cane turned 24 last Wednesday but his rugby career has already reached heights other players can only dream about.

He will co-captain the Chiefs this season and has been chosen to replace Richie McCaw as the All Blacks starting openside flanker.

But Cane has never forgotten he is from the rural Bay of Plenty town of Reporoa. It is a huge part of his make-up, and where he learned his rugby craft.

So next week's road trip by the Chiefs playing squad is something he is excited about.

"It is awesome to be able to get out into the community. The Chiefs region is quite widespread and I know, coming from a small town myself, that in the smaller rural areas we actually have some of our biggest supporters," Cane said.

The guys are really good with their community engagements and they actually enjoy it. It is quite a cool thing to do.
Sam Cane

"It is a shame that a lot of our home games are in Hamilton so that is a fair way for some of those families and people to travel. To be able to spend a little bit of time with them is pretty special for them and a wee thank you for their support.

"We have a lot of the boys from small towns and we will make sure before we head out that they are all aware of how big an impact you can have on people. We are in a pretty privileged position to be able to do that.

"The guys are really good with their community engagements and they actually enjoy it. It is quite a cool thing to do."

Te Puke, Katikati and Mount Maunganui are among 16 regions the Chiefs will visit next week.

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On Wednesday the Chiefs are hosting a special fundraising dinner for Austin Manning, 7, who suffers from cerebral palsy. The Chiefs have made Austin part of their extended squad and are helping to send him to America to have life-altering surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

A dinner for Austin will be held at the ASB Arena with tables available for purchase at www.chiefs.co.nz.

Head coach Dave Rennie will MC the evening and Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks Cane, Brodie Retallick and Tawera Kerr-Barlow will be interviewed on stage by Chiefs co-captain Aaron Cruden. They have also donated signed memorabilia for the auction.

"He is a special kid and he is from a special family and they have had a wee bit of a rough time," Cane said.

"To help him out and hopefully change his life for the better is something the whole team has got in behind and grasped. He is an inspirational young man."

Gallagher Chiefs 2016 Summer Roadie:

* Monday, January 25: Cambridge, Tirau, Putaruru, Tokoroa, Rotorua, Murupara, Reporoa, Kawerau

* Tuesday, January 26: Opotiki, Whakatane

* Wednesday, January 27: Te Puke, Mount Maunganui

* Thursday, January 28: Katikati

* Friday, January 29: Waihi, Paeroa, Morrinsville

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