Cane’s award win just another sign of world gone mad

Sam Cane of the All Blacks leads his team onto the field during the 2020 Tri-Nations match...
Sam Cane of the All Blacks leads his team onto the field during the 2020 Tri-Nations match between the Argentina Pumas. Photo: Getty Images
In some ways it was not a surprise.

We live in a society where house prices rocket up in the same year as a pandemic. Where skifields are packed and at the same time foodbanks are crying out for funds. How is a hotel made out of a plane planned at an airport?

Yes, logic seems to have gone out the window. Reality has left the building. The real world has moved down the road.

It continued on Thursday night when All Black captain Sam Cane was named All Black player of the year and then picked up the Kelvin R. Tremain Memorial Trophy at the New Zealand rugby awards.

Now, he is a good bloke is Cane, and nothing against him, but how did he exactly get the award?

He led the All Blacks to a 50% win record. Totally unacceptable for this team. We are talking the All Blacks here — not the Warriors or the Phoenix.

The side that goes on about legacy, the side which has the highest standard of any in the land, the one that bangs on about its winning record — "the most successful international rugby team of all time but also one of the most successful teams in world sport, with a winning test record of more than 75 percent."

So with a three wins, two losses and one draw record, including a first ever loss to Argentina, how — yes, how — did the captain pick up the top prize?

Cane had some good games as a player in the black jersey this year and hardly missed a tackle all season. But when you are the skipper of the All Blacks, individual performance is not the sole criterion of how you play — sure it is about your 80 minutes on the park, but it is also about the team record and how it plays.

Sadly Cane never convinced as a skipper in what was a rather muddling year for the national side. The team only had one really good performance and let’s be honest, Southland Country could have run the Australians close that night in Sydney.

It is hard to believe that Highlanders and All Black halfback Aaron Smith came away from the awards with nothing.

He was a star at Super Rugby level, but fair enough that Richie Mo’unga won that award as he was top-notch for the Crusaders. There was nothing between Smith and Ash Dixon for the top Maori player. But surely Smith should have won ahead of Cane.

Smith has been in the All Black team so long, he now gets taken for granted. Well, with one year left on his contract, and foreign teams bound to be lining up to get his signature, he may be tempted to go elsewhere.

And watch out if he departs — because daylight is second behind Smith.

The line of TJ Perenara advocates gets shorter by the day.

Sure, perhaps there is a Smith bias in the south, but he had a top year and hopefully will bring up 100 tests for the All Blacks next year.

But hang on, he was never going to win anyway. Highlanders are obviously not allowed to win the award. No player from the franchise has won the Kelvin R. Tremain Trophy since it began in 2008. Every other franchise has had a player win the award. Huh.

The judging panel were Auckland-based broadcasters: Tony Johnson, Rikki Swannell and Elliott Smith.


Cane is a good player but not necessarily a good captain and certainly not worthy of these top rugby awards - this year anyway. Problem with NZR is they taut young quality players as "future captains". Captains should be chosen by the players as they will pick the one they believe will lead them and the one they respect and will follow. Nugget on the other hand had an outstanding season in all comps and more players would follow him. Maybe judges too busy watching and wishing for Nth Island teams...

Spot on. As a player Cane was one of our best 3 to 4 but one A Smith was better.

Even in 2015 the Highlanders title win did nt get much love from the rest of NZ (apart from some jealousy in red n black land).

and to add salt to injury .. Hansen short lived the Highlanders celebration by cutting down their festivities so that they can begin training with the all mighty all blacks.


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