Broken neck: All Blacks expect Cane to play again

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All Blacks flanker Sam Cane.

The All Blacks flanker Sam Cane fractured his neck in yesterday's 32-30 win over the Springboks in Pretoria and will have to remain in South Africa.

The All Blacks confirmed on social media that the 26-year-old had suffered a fracture in his vertebrae but added that he had fortunately avoided any nerve damage.

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If there was a feeling that South Africa snatched victory in Wellington last month, New Zealand wreaked revenge at Loftus Versfeld with a stunning heist.

"It'll probably take about three months for the bone to get strong, we'll just take it step by step", he told reporters.

"The operation is to keep everything in the right pace so the bone can heal".

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he expected the World Cup winning loose forward, who has played 60 Tests, to return to top-level rugby. "Many sportsmen have had this injury as have people in other walks of life and they usually make a good recovery". "Once you remove the drama of it being a neck injury you've just got to look at it and treat it like any fracture".

Rugby this year and was mentioned as a potential dark-horse pick for the Rugby Championship squad.

The All Blacks face Australia in the third Bledisloe Cup clash in Yokohama on October 27 before they face Japan on November 3 in Tokyo.

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A squad of 32 would operate the three tests in Europe with the clashes against England at Twickenham and Ireland in Dublin giving the All Blacks a taste of the pressure situations they will encounter at the business end of next year's tournament.