Rural Mental Health

Before New Zealand went into lockdown, Sam "Lashes" Casey spoke to a few famous Kiwi faces to find out how they deal with tough times as part of The Country's #kickoffyourboots campaign for rural mental health.

In the first video of the series, Lashes caught up with All Black Sam Cane for a yarn about how he coped with a debilitating injury at the height of his career.

Kick off your boots with Lashes: Toni Street - Part One
Kick off your boots with Lashes: Anton Lienert-Brown

Cane broke his neck during a test in South Africa in October 2018 and spent three months in a neck brace as part of his recovery.

"There was a worry for a while that maybe I wasn't going to be able to play rugby, but right then when something that significant happens to you ... rugby didn't matter at that point. I would've been content if that was my last game of rugby, because I was happy that I would still be able to live a healthy and fulfilling life walking around on two legs. I know not everyone's that lucky."


Family and friends were a great help to Cane on his road to recovery and he often just needed companionship when he was feeling "frustrated", especially as he couldn't drive.

"Mum and dad, my wife Harriet and friends - everyone want[ed] to help."

Perspective also kept Cane in the correct frame of mind when he found his situation difficult.

"I [was] getting sick of wearing this brace 24/7, but hey at least I can stand up and go and make my own breakfast. I know some people aren't that lucky.

"So in a funny way - freakish accident - you can say it's unlucky, but in the same breath I considered myself lucky if that makes sense."

Cane often talked to his wife Harriet about how he was feeling and urged other men to open up too.

"I wouldn't for one moment think someone's less of a man for talking about how they're feeling. I think those days are long gone. Because it takes courage to speak up and say how you're truly feeling.

"The best way another bloke can be if someone brings that up is just [to be] receptive to it. Don't show any judgement - make it a safe, open place for a mate to share."


Cane also revealed some sage advice from fellow All Black Brad Weber's mum.

"If someone asks you to go for a beer. Never say no. Because you never know what that beer's going to lead to. Or what someone wants to chat about.

"I thought that was gold."