Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Question mark over Sam Cane as All Blacks depart

Sam Cane is in doubt for the All Blacks' clash this weekend. Photo / Photosport
Sam Cane is in doubt for the All Blacks' clash this weekend. Photo / Photosport

The All Blacks have left for Sydney today in preparation for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup clash with a question mark over the fitness of loose forward Sam Cane.

Cane has been on light training duties recently due to his recovery from concussion suffered while playing for the Chiefs against the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby semifinal, and as a result Matt Todd has travelled as cover. Prop Kane Hames has been included in the squad of 32 as cover for Joe Moody, who is still getting over a neck issue which has kept him out of the game since before the June internationals.

Lock Luke Romano and loose forward Elliot Dixon have been left at home.

Coach Steve Hansen is likely to start Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick against the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium. It remains to be seen whether Hansen goes for a lock on the reserves bench, in which case it would be Patrick Tuipulotu, or select two loose forwards there as he showed a willingness to do during the World Cup.

If Cane is fit, Ardie Savea and Liam Squire could be selected on the bench.

Romano has been given the go ahead to play for Canterbury in the first round of the Mitre 10 Cup against Auckland in Christchurch on Saturday, with Damian McKenzie cleared to play for Waikato against Tasman next Sunday.

Hooker Dane Coles, who has been struggling with a rib injury recently, has made the travelling squad.

All Blacks squad for Sydney test week

Forwards: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Kane Hames, Joe Moody, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Matt Todd.

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Anton Lienert-Brown, George Moala, Israel Dagg, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.

- NZ Herald

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