Sam Cane's mum has revealed the secret inspiration their All Blacks star son savoured before his heroic return to the test arena.

Cane, 27, captained the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Buenos Aires last Sunday – less than nine months after fracturing his neck against the Springboks in Pretoria.

Just days after the horror injury, he revealed that if it wasn't for the "circumference and strength of my neck" he may have been confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Ahead of tonight's test against the Springboks in Wellington – which the

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