A tackle gone wrong has ended Sam Cane's Super Rugby Aotearoa season early, with the All Blacks skipper lasting just 26 minutes of the Chiefs' final game of the season.
In trying to bring down Hurricanes fullback Jordie Barrett, Cane's head clashed with Barrett's hip and collapsed to the ground. The match was soon stopped as Cane lay prone on his back with medical staff checking over him.
After a few minutes, he was able to walk from the field.
It was an eerily similar scene to that of the All Blacks match against the Springboks in Pretoria in 2018 during which Cane fractured his neck in an attempted tackle on Springboks No 8 Francois Louw. He left the field on his feet in that instance, with later examinations showing the fracture. Cane underwent surgery to repair the injury, and subsequently spent months on the sideline before returning during the Chiefs 2019 Super Rugby campaign.
Saturday night's injury was a disappointing end to a disappointing season for Cane, who has drawn their ire of critics during the campaign and has seen his Chiefs side go winless.
In May, Cane was named as the next All Blacks captain by coach Ian Foster, who noted Cane was the right sort of leader for what is arguably the most important job in New Zealand sport.
"Sam is an experienced All Black with eight years in the team now and is a 'follow me' type of leader and a very good thinker in the game. He has a natural ability to connect with everyone in the team and is straightforward and direct when he needs to be," Foster said at the time.