Rugby: Cane cited for foul play in Chiefs' win

By Kris Shannon

Sam Cane helped the Chiefs to a narrow win over the Jaguares. Photo / Getty
Sam Cane helped the Chiefs to a narrow win over the Jaguares. Photo / Getty

It was almost the perfect end to a prosperous road-trip - a rousing win over the Jaguares that resulted in top spot in the New Zealand conference.

But the Chiefs' mood would have been darkened by two disparate moments in the second half of this morning's last-gasp victory in Buenos Aires.

The first was seemingly innocuous but could have significant consequences, with Johan Bardoul suffering a hand injury that would likely required surgery and further thin the Chiefs' locking stocks.

There was no missing the second incident and it might have a similar outcome, with Sam Cane's fate left in the hands of the judiciary after being cited for a crushing cleanout on Jaguares prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

Cane's heavy hit to the head was more a result of misfortune than malice, after Chaparro's body position sunk as the Chiefs co-captain lined him.

But considering the citing commissioner deemed the incident had met the red card threshold for foul play, even Cane's spotless reputation might not be enough to save him from a stint on the sidelines.

"I had a quick glance at it on the big screen but I can remember it pretty clearly," Cane said shortly after the match. "I was just coming in to try and clean him out around the rib area and, as I committed, the tackle was going to ground and it looks like I may have made a bit of contact with his head.

"[There was] no intention to hurt and no malice - hopefully [Chaparro] is doing all right. I spoke to some of the Argentinian media and they said he was all right, so that's good to hear."

They same cannot be said of the Chiefs' main injury concern. After Brodie Retallick and Dominic Bird both missed the two-match tour to South Africa and South America through long-term injuries, Bardoul had again been proving his ability to cover lock and his natural back-row role.

But with Bardoul likely needing an operation, according to Rennie, the Chiefs may welcome the Force on Saturday night with Michael Allardice as their only recognised lock.

"We'll know a bit more over the next 24 hours but it'll probably be a reasonably lengthy stay on the sidelines," the coach said. "We're hopeful for guys like Brodie and Dominic Bird, but it looks like Dom will still be two or three weeks away and there's still a question mark around Brodie, and we won't risk him if there's any questions marks."

Losing Bardoul and, potentially, Cane removed a little sheen from what was a sparkling performance by the competition's leading attack. Showing no signs of an arduous travel schedule that has seen them traverse the southern hemisphere in the last fortnight, the Chiefs withstood a fierce challenge up front and out wide to eventually clinch the match through Brad Weber's 79th-minute try.

"It was a big step up in intensity from the last three games we've played," Cane said, "and also in the way we stepped up and played. We knew we had to because we were coming up against a very strong side. We had travel to contend with and also had a pretty hostile crowd. It was a big challenge and the way we stepped up and responded was pretty pleasing."

- NZ Herald

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