Sam Cane in action against Italy

Sam Cane: New Zealand captain to make first 2023 World Cup start against Uruguay

Sam Cane in action against ItalySam Cane (far right) came on as a replacement last Friday against Italy for his first 2023 World Cup appearance2023 Rugby World Cup – New Zealand v UruguayVenue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais Dates: Thursday, 5 October Kick-off: 20.00 BSTCoverage: Full commentary of every game across BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

New Zealand captain Sam Cane will make his first start of the Rugby World Cup in the All Blacks’ final Pool A match against Uruguay.

Cane has recovered from a back injury and starts as one of nine changes for the game in Lyon on Thursday.

Sam Whitelock also starts and in doing so will break the all-time record for the most World Cup appearances.

The All Blacks would qualify for the quarter-finals with a bonus-point victory.

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Flanker Cane came off the bench in the 96-17 win over Italy in New Zealand’s previous game, and he is now fit enough to make the starting XV for Thursday’s match.

The other changes from the crushing win over the Italians include Cam Roigard starting at scrum-half and Damian McKenzie at full-back.

It is the first time McKenzie has worn the number 15 for his country since November 2021. His past five caps have been at fly-half or as a replacement.

Second-row Whitelock will play in his 23rd Rugby World Cup match, surpassing England’s 2003 World Cup winner Jason Leonard and fellow All Black Richie McCaw for the all-time appearance record.

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It is Whitelock’s 150th Test, with only Wales great Alun Wyn Jones – with 171 – having earned more international caps.

Whitelock previously surpassed McCaw as New Zealand’s most capped player ever when he came off the bench against Italy.

Only Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Codie Taylor, Shannon Frizell, Richie Mo’unga, Jordie Barrett and Will Jordan retain their places.

New Zealand, who started their campaign with defeat to hosts France before enjoying crushing wins against Namibia and Italy, have qualification in their own hands and will progress to the last eight should they beat Uruguay while scoring at least four tries.


New Zealand XV: Damian McKenzie; Will Jordan, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, Leicester Fainga’anuku; Richie Mo’unga, Cam Roigard; Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Codie Taylor, Tyrel Lomax, Sam Whitelock, Tupou Vaa’i, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson.

Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Scott Barrett, Ethan Blackadder, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Caleb Clarke.

Match officials

Referee: Wayne Barnes

Touch judges: Matthew Carley, Jordan Way

TMO: Marius Jonker