Rugby: Cane set to assert physical edge over Reds

Expect a fiery welcome for the Reds when they run on to Waikato Stadium on Saturday to take on the in-form Chiefs.

Flanker Sam Cane says the Queenslanders are vulnerable when put under pressure.

"We plan to have quite a physical competition with them and will be looking to beat them up a little bit," said Cane.

"They are not quite so good away from home but we know they are a quality side and if they can get front-foot ball it is obvious their main threats are [Will] Genia and [Quade] Cooper. We will be working hard to disrupt that area and put pressure on them to make hurried plays and to make mistakes."

The Chiefs have scored more tries (21) than any other side in this year's Super Rugby competition but a hallmark of why they are top of the table is their defence.

Cane says it is something the Chiefs put more emphasis on than most teams.

"[The last match] against the Blues was probably one of our best defensive performances this season. We work on a lot of different things, as there are many aspects to having good defence. It is about getting all of them right from the start, like having a good set-piece and disrupting their ball, bringing line speed in and making dominant tackles.

"We have an emphasis on trying to stay on our feet so we can continually drive in to tackles phase after phase."

After spending most of 2012 training with the All Blacks rather than playing, Cane is thriving with regular game time.

"I have been reasonably happy with my form and have got a couple of 80 minute performances under my belt. It not only builds the confidence but also match fitness and means you can put a few things out on the park you have been working on at training. Consistency is the key thing in this competition."

Cane is the heir apparent to Richie McCaw in the All Blacks and is odds-on favourite to play in the three tests against France in June.

But he is not taking anything for granted.

"There has been a lot of young sevens performing well this season so it is a real battle to try and nail that All Black jersey. It is in the back of your mind but you have to realise if you don't play well for your franchise, playing for the All Blacks is not even on the cards."

- Hamilton News

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